Apparel Industry Call to Action on Sandblasting 

SAI supports the ITGLWF's campaign, and applauds five Corporate Program members that have already signed on to this commitment.

October 2011

In support of the ITGLWF's Call to Action to ban sandblasting throughout the garment industry, SAI has signed on to encourage companies to eliminate this hazardous, and sometimes fatal, technique in supply chains worldwide. The ban is consistent with SA8000® OSH requirement 3.1 and good practices that SAI promotes through all of our programs.

This strong industry support against sandblasting is a critical force to leverage and bring further visibility to this issue. SAI applauds its five Corporate Program members that have signed on to eliminate this technique in the supply chain  - Carrefour, Gap Inc., Gucci, Tchibo and Timberland- and other supporting brands such as Levi Strauss & Co., H & M, Bestseller, C&A, Versace, Benetton, Burberry, Carrera Jeans, Esprit, Mango, Metro, New Look, Pepe Jeans and Replay.

Apparel sandblasting involves projecting fine sand with compressed air to fashion a 'worn look' on denim and other garments. It is extremely hazardous to workers' health- workers that perform these techniques are exposed to silica dust which can lead to an acute form of silicosis, a serious pulmonary disease which can be disabling, as well as fatal. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the dangers associated with the spread of sand dust in 1932. In the 1960s, member states of the European Union banned sandblasting. In 2009, Turkey banned sandblasting.

Signing onto the letter communicates a company's agreement to:

  • Ban the practice of sandblasting throughout its supply chains including, but not limited to, the use of aluminium oxide, aluminium silicate, silicon carbide, copper slag and garnet for abrasive blasting;
  • Work with its suppliers in a transition towards alternative methods, after having established the risks and their means of control;
  • Take the necessary measures to ensure that the ban is effectively applied throughout its whole supply chain.