Discount retail giant Target Corporation has joined global brands and retailers including Levi Strauss, H&M, Gucci, Benetton and Esprit in banning the use of sandblasting on all owned-brand and national brand apparel sold in its stores.

The dangerous denim finishing technique involves workers firing sand under high pressure onto jeans and other garments to give a 'worn' look.

But it is also known to cause silicosis in workers, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease, and has led to deaths in garment producing countries like Turkey and Bangladesh where sandblasting is carried out manually.

Target says it recently stopped the internal development of new products using sandblasting - and that by the end of this year it "will no longer carry product made using this harmful technique."

"Even with stringent safety standards and protective gear, the sandblasting process can expose workers to a harmful compound found in sand and lead to serious health issues," the retailer says.

"When Target learned about these negative impacts, we partnered with our vendors, including the technicians at the wash facilities where sandblasting occurs, to understand production processes and explore alternatives."