TargetIn an effort to reduce silicosis hazards to denim factory workers, the Target Corporation announced recently it would phase out sandblasted denim by the end of 2012.

The Minneapolis-based company is joining with Levi Strauss & Co. to end the practice of sandblasting to produce denim clothing that appears pre-worn.

Sandblasting is one of the workplace operations that can result in worker inhalation of small crystalline silica particles. Silica has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease.

Other workplace activities that may expose workers to silica include: cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone products (such as in construction operations), and operations using sand products (such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting).