China: GoodElectronics report on health of workers damaged by chemical poisoning in electronics industry; includes responses from companies

"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...."

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4 September 2016

Full report: The Poisonous Pearl Occupational chemical poisoning in the electronics industry in the Pearl River Delta

Author: Labour Action China (LAC), Labour Education and Service Network (LESN), Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

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4 September 2016

Victim stories of chemical poisoning in electronics industry in China

Author: GoodElectronics

Key Findings

  • Workers are poorly informed about the health risks of exposure to chemicals at work.
  • Workers lack adequate information, training and personal protective equipment in their work.
  • Employers do not support employees who become ill...

Corporate responses

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’ that it formulated jointly with the International Campaign for Responsible Technology.

Challenging the industry

Since January 2015, the GoodElectronics Network and the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT) discuss a life cycle approach to the use of toxic chemicals. They issued a formal 'Challenge to the global electronics industry' on chemical usage. The ‘Challenge’ includes detailed recommendations for the industry on how it might address the issue...

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