Bangladesh Tannery Workers Dying Before 50 Due To Exposure To Toxic Chemicals, According To WHO

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 2 years ago | News

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The garment industry workers in Bangladesh who work in leather tanneries, including children as young as eight, are exposed to toxic chemicals which shorten their lives, according to a report by the World Health Organisation, cited in a new report, in BMJ, which details the experiences of volunteer doctors of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who set up clinics in the area to diagnose and treat those who are the victims of these workplaces.

The workers live and work in the slums of Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar. The tanneries treat animal skins with a hazardous cocktail of chemicals which makes the leather desirable for use in the fashion industry. According to the Guardian, the 250-odd tanneries in Hazaribagh discharge 6,000 cubic metres of toxic effluent and 10 tonnes of solid waste every day, which, in 2012, led Human Rights Watch to release a report which condemned the tanneries for disregarding Bangladesh’s laws and International Laws by allowing children under the age of 18 to work in hazardous conditions.

The BMJ report states that “Apart from heavy metals like chromium, cadmium, lead and mercury, a conglomerate of chemicals are discharged by the tanneries into the environment.” Furthermore, that “Workers aged eight and older are soaked to the skin, breathing the fumes for most of the day and eat and live in these surroundings throughout the year. Personal protective equipment [is] not provided.” You can read the full report by BMJ here

Via the Guardian.

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