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Making a pair of jeans is a very dirty, very toxic process. Xintang, China is known as the denim capital of the world and it is so polluted that the locals say you can't even give the houses away to get people to live there.
Yet, the factories there produce about 300 million denim articles a year. The water in the East river has turned indigo blue and smells toxic. This river is the only source of drinking water for millions of people that live downriver in cities such as Guangzhou. Villagers nearby say that the dirty water is no longer fit for drinking or laundry. Fish have died out.
That cool distressed denim wash on your latest pair of designer jeans is the result of several chemical-intensive washes. The dying and washing process involves such heavy metals as cadmium, lead and mercury. Some estimates suggest that producing one pair of jeans requires more than 2,500 gallons of water, nearly a pound of chemicals and vast amounts of energy. Perhaps this is w...