Global fashion brands including H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer are buying material produced in factories that devastate peoples’ health in Indonesia, China and India, a new investigation has found. 
Toxic run-off from the manufacture of viscose, a supposedly environmentally friendly fibre used to make clothes, is contaminating water supplies and has been linked to increased risk of cancer.
Viscose is a plant-based fibre which means it is sometimes promoted as an ethical choice for consumers. However, most viscose is currently produced using a highly chemical-intensive process, according to the campaign group the Changing Markets Foundation.
They found “clear evidence” that viscose manufacturers are dumping untreated wastewater into local water supplies.
In one instance in West Java, Indonesia, locals were found washing viscose products in the river, directly exposing themselves to toxic chemicals contained in the fibre. Investigators were told no one swims in the river any more.
Near another plant in Jiangxi, China, viscose production …