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I woke this morning to the dreadful reality that toxins from denim production along China’s Pearl River are bleeding into the famed waterway at an alarming rate. This stretch of river, that is often referred to as the “lifeblood of the world’s factory floor” is the location of countless industrial properties that produce the world’s textiles, toys, mobile phones and the like.

Blue Jean's Turning China's Rivers Black

It is also the blue jean capital of the world. So, how many jeans are we talking? Around 200 million pairs of jeans per year (!!!). This includes around 60 foreign brands which equates to just under half the 450 million pairs of jeans sold annually in the United States. However, this massive production of denim is poisoning China’s water supply with excessive amounts of chemicals, carcinogens, heavy metals and other nasty pollutants. The most disturbing are satellite images which reveal the part of the Pearl River adjacent to Xintang’s blue jean factories which run a distinct blue/black; while the nearby riverbank is a dumping ground for textile scraps, pig carcasses and other refuse. It’s enough to put you off wearing denim for life! More on this at CNN.