Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 151

GoodElectronics Network reveals victim stories of chemical poisoning in electronics industry in China

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 7 settembre 2016

amsterdamAmsterdam. The GoodElectronics Network’s latest report ‘The Poisonous Pearl focuses on the experiences of (former) workers in the electronics industry in China who are victims of chemical poisoning. The health of all the workers in the report was damaged by exposure to hazardous chemicals such as benzene and n-hexane. All were working in large or small factories in the Pearl River Delta-region of China, an area well known as being a global hub for the production of consumer electronics (ICT). Manufacturers based in this region supply to international companies such as Apple, Asus, Canon, Foxconn, Huawei, Philips, Samsung and Sony, amongst others.
Zhu Yishu worked in a plant which manufactured ICT products principally for Japanese brands, such as Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba. As part of his job, he had contact with thinner, alcohol, solvent naphtha and other chemicals. In 2006, Zhu started experiencing pain in his back, bones and joints and was diagnosed as having acute leukaemia. In 2008 Zhu had a bone marrow transplant but suffered a relapse four years later. He now needs another transplant but the factory is refusing to pay for it. Zhu claims that his workplace was never inspected by clients and when officials from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) did come to inspect the plant, the manufacturer was notified before the visit and workers were told to conceal things.The research project was undertaken by two Hong Kong-based labour rights organisations – Labour Action China (LAC), and Labour Education and Service Network (LESN) – in collaboration with the Netherlands-based Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO). Fifty nine workers filled out a detailed questionnaire and another 16 workers took part in in-depth interviews. Some workers were the only worker to become ill in their factory. Therefore pseudonyms have been used and the names of the factories withheld.
Eleven of the 23 client companies named in this report responded to a draft version of this report. They stressed that they considered chemical poisoning a serious risk for workers but were not aware of concrete cases of chemical poisoning in their supply chains. Alejandro Gonzalez, Coordinator of the GoodElectronics Network: “It is about time that the electronics industry takes serious steps to come to a life cycle approach to the use of toxic chemicals. GoodElectronics is calling upon the electronics industry to meet the ‘Chemical Challenge’.”

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