Nobody clocks in to work thinking they will be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. Unfortunately, this may be the reality for thousands of people working in the textile industry. Manufacturing clothes involves using synthetic dyes and fabrics that can cause deadly illnesses such as lung cancer, breast cancer, mesothelioma, or reproductive problems. Textile workers may be directly inhaling toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, and cadmium. Carter’s, one of the largest manufacturers of baby clothes, is allegedly one of the worst corporations in the textile industry regarding this issue.
Why would corporations bring their workers face-to-face with chemicals known to be carcinogenic to humans?
Workers Must Be Protected
Chemical usage may be necessary to properly bond fabrics or add a design with dye. However, there needs to be some form of protection in place for clothing factory workers. To keep workers safe, organizations should enforce the following measures:
- Use natural fabrics in the manufacturing process
- Equip workers with masks
- Regularly measure the amount of toxic chemicals in the air
- Address the problem by telling workers of associated health risks
It’s important that factories measure the amount of toxic chemicals in the air and alert workers if unsafe levels of carcinogens are found. Many textile workers don’t wear masks and may be inhaling deadly chemicals on a daily basis. Currently, many textile companies around the world are failing to protect their workers. According to the International Labor Organization, one worker dies every 30 seconds from exposure to toxic chemicals in this industry.
Life-Threatening Health Risks If Left Unprotected
Textile workers deserve to do their jobs without having to fear for their health. People involved in the dyeing, bleaching, or finishing processes are at higher risk of developing certain cancers by being exposed to toxic chemicals. Some of the irreversible health risks associated with these jobs are:
- Reproductive problems
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer
Knowing the signs of these diseases can be helpful if your loved one comes home with potential symptoms. If recognized and treated early, progression of some of these illnesses can be slowed or stopped.
If workers do develop serious illnesses from working with synthetic dyes and fabrics, they may be left with mounting medical costs. They may also require surgery for their illnesses, not to mention the emotional impact this can have on the individual and their family.
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Textile Corporations at Fault
Corporations should not allow people to spend 40 hours a week dealing with potentially life-threatening chemicals. If toxins can’t be completely removed from the textile-making process, corporations should minimize risks for workers by substituting the materials used. Using safer fabrics and dyes can be more costly for businesses, but would be much safer for workers. If companies are unable to afford this, factory owners should at least put protective measures in place for employees. It’s not the duty of factory workers to put these protective measures in place.
Textile workers have the right to stay healthy and be protected by their employers. Yet, these corporations may focus more on their profits than the health of their workers. It’s likely that many large clothing corporations could afford to use safer materials in the textile-making process, but use synthetic ones because they are cheaper. The textile industry has experienced significant growth in recent years because it’s easy to rapidly produce cheap, synthetic materials and sell products for much more than they are worth.
Companies should seriously consider how they can make a profit without risking the lives of workers.
Other Industries with Occupational Cancer Risks
Unfortunately, occupational illnesses are common in more industries than just textile manufacturing. You may also be exposed to similar illnesses if you work in one of the following areas:
- Hair styling
- Nail Technician
- Rubber manufacturing
Employers should work to put protective measures in place that will eliminate occupational illnesses. Occupational illnesses, no matter the severity, are unacceptable. This problem has gone so far as to be considered a public health crisis by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization.
It may be difficult to determine if your job caused your cancer, but it is not impossible.
Pintas & Mullins Can Help
Let our team of experienced toxic chemical lawyers assist you in making your legal claim. No matter what illness you developed, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries. Call us for a free legal consultation today to discuss your case.