According to a report by a Cambodian local rights group, pre-consumer fabric waste from around 19 global brands was being used to fuel kilns in brick factories in Cambodia, and some workers were falling ill.
The report by The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) was based on visits to 21 brick factories in Phnom Penh and Kandal province and meetings with former and current kiln workers.
The human rights group found that pre-consumer garment waste, including fabric, rubber, and other materials generated from the brands, was being burned at various factories.
“The kilns were burning garment waste to save on fuel costs, while workers reported of headaches and respiratory problems at these brick kilns,” the report said.
The report informed that the smoke released by burning the garment waste contains toxic substances, including dioxins, which can cause cancer.
Pre-consumer waste also has toxic chemicals like resins, heavy metals, chlorine bleach, ammonia, and formaldehyde, which are commonly used during dyeing and printing.
The brands named in the LICADHO report include Adidas, C&A, LPP’s Cropp and Sinsay, Disney, Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, Karbon, Kiabi, Lululemon Athletica, Lidl Stiftung & Co’s Lupilu, Walmart’s No Boundaries, Primark, Reebok, Sweaty Betty, Tilley Endurables, Under Armour, and Venus Fashion.