Who will mourn the death of sandblasted jeans? Very few people, hopefully, as it's the year 2012 and nobody should be rocking distressed denim anymore, but also because the process workers use to make jeans look fashionably worn-in is horrible for their health — sandblasters end up breathing in a large amount of silica dust, which can cause an incurable lung disease called silicosis. After studying the process and finding it to be "extremely harmful" to workers, Target announced earlier this week that it will ban sandblasted denim from all of its stores by the end of the year.

"The safety of factory workers should not be compromised for the sake of fashion," Jey John, Target's lead fabric engineer for denim and wash, said in a statement. "We hope that Target serves as a meaningful example to the apparel industry, both in the United States and around the world." Yes, for sure! Except the Turkish government banned sandblasting way back in 2009 after reports that workers had died as a result, and more than a dozen brands, including Levi Strauss & Co, H&M, and Benetton already participate in the ban, so Target isn't exactly leading the way here. Plus, workers can still distress denim using scrapers and lasers. Technology!

Can we all wax nostalgic about the distressed jeans we've owned in the past? I once owned these.

Targeting Better Health: Target Bans Sandblasted Jeans [GreenBiz]

Image via A7880S/Shutterstock.