“Worn Jeans” have become a staple of the trendy-casual closet – check out our gallery of stars like Katie Holmes, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and even Elle MacPherson in their own ripped-up, slouchy pairs. But new research suggests that the “sandblasted jeans” are making people sick. It turns out that exposure to the sand, silica, and chemicals used to “break in” your brand new denim can cause a high risk of developing silica, a potentially lethal lung disease.
Science News reported that researchers are finding a high incidence of silicosis in factory workers who are regularly exposed to silica (or sand). The researchers monitored regular chest X-rays of 60 Turkish factory workers who come into frequent contact with silica in factories that produce “sandblasted” jeans, and confirmed silicosis in 44 of the workers – all had been exposed to the chemicals for periods of just two months to five years.
Silicosis symptoms include abnormal lung nodules and emphysema, and can lead to death. Researchers report that most factory employees work without any sort of facial mask or protection from the chemicals.
But not everyone likes the worn denim look: Slouchy, ripped-up, and shapeless jeans aren’t flattering on all body types, and it’s hard to swallow high price tags on clothing that looks ready to fall apart. But what’s scarier than looking like a hobo? Someone getting a lung disease because of your denim style choice.