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Turkey: Silicosis takes toll among textile workers

…Since 2005, Turkish doctors have…become aware of…acute version of…[silicosis], affecting workers employed to give denim the worn look…"We worked in pairs in rooms about four meters square pumping sand under high pressure onto the fabric. The only ventilation was a small fan. They gave us medical masks to cover our mouths with." [said a former worker]…Seventy-five village men…had done the same job…70 percent of them had varying degrees of silicosis...Five have already died…Former sand-blasters…say they worked with jeans stamped with some of the world’s most famous brand names, and [an] association [set up to fight for the rights of former sand-blasters] has held a series of demonstrations in front of shops belonging to Turkey’s most famous jeans brand, Mavi. Mavi and other companies deny any malpractice…The owners of some of these unsafe factories have escaped justice in part because their former employees are as short of money as they are of time.