H&M, Zara, M&S and others found buying from highly polluting factories in Asia

Toxic run-off from the manufacture of viscose, a supposedly ethical material, has turned rivers black, contaminated drinking water and been linked to increased cancer risk.

Global fashion brands are buying material made in factories that devastate peoples health in Indonesia, China and India.

Viscose is a plant based fiber. For this reason, it is thought to be an ethical material. However, most viscose is produced using a highly chemical-intensive process.

The Changing Markets Foundation found clear evidence that viscose manufacturers are dumping waste water in local water supplies.

In China, viscose production has completely destroyed life in Poyang Lake, Jiangxi. In India, families were suffering cases of cancer and birth deformities after their water was contaminated.

The fast fashion industry, whereby production is kept cheap to encourage consumers to throw away clothes after a few uses as well as lax environmental regulations are a toxic mix, according to Changing Markets Foundation.

All is not lost though. Changing Markets states that 10 companies control around 75% of viscose production. If fashion companies and consumers put pressure on the suppliers to change their production methods, rapid change can be made.


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