Fast Fashion Contributes to Overheated Kilns Causing Worker Faintings


In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, workers endure extreme heat in brick kilns, with some describing it as “working inside a burning prison.” A study has found that all workers tested had heat stress, with core body temperatures exceeding 38C, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, nausea and headaches. Some workers had temperatures of 40C, which can lead to heat stroke and potentially death. The heat is exacerbated by the warming climate and Cambodia’s own weather. The kilns are fuelled by scraps from the country’s $6bn garment industry, which contain harmful substances such as chlorine bleach, formaldehyde and ammonia. The workers are often trapped in a cycle of debt, having borrowed money due to failing crops and then being unable to repay the loans. Despite the harsh conditions, they cannot leave for fear of being arrested and imprisoned.

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