Worker 'waiting to die' of silicosis passes away
Sait Gündoğdu, a former worker in a denim sandblasting workshop who spoke to the Taraf daily last year and said he, like his friends, had been "waiting to die" of the deadly lung disease silicosis, passed away on Wednesday.
On Aug. 23. 2012, Taraf published a report titled "We are waiting to die next," which detailed the life stories and health issues of silicosis sufferers living in the Taşlıçay village of Bingöl's Karlıova district. Gündoğdu was one of 160 workers suffering from silicosis, and he told Taraf he had been waiting to die after watching nine of his friends pass away from the same disease. All of those workers had reportedly worked at various times in denim sandblasting workshops in İstanbul.

Gündoğdu, a 50-year-old father of six, had developed silicosis while working in a denim blasting workshop in İstanbul's Güngören district between 1999 and 2004. He died on Wednesday at a hospital in Elazığ, where he had been receiving treatment.

With the passing of Gündoğdu, the death count of Taşlıçay villagers who have died of silicosis has now hit 10.

Denim sandblasting is the process of spraying sand onto denim using air compressors. This softens the fabric and gives it a more worn look. Particles inhaled during this process can lead to the development of silicosis, a disease of the lungs caused by the inhalation and retention of crystalline silica and that is common among miners.

Those who work in denim sandblasting say that denim companies tend to force sandblast workers to labor in closed and unventilated environments -- and even prohibit them from opening the windows -- since the sand used in the process is expensive and they do not want to waste it.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2013-10-10 20:00:36
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