Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Displays Handhelds Technology Hardware

Workers Poisoned Making Touchscreen Hardware 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the welcome-to-the-jungle dept.
SocResp writes "A chemical called n-hexane has been poisoning the nervous systems of Chinese workers who assemble touchscreen devices for Apple and other companies, an investigative journalist from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. It's scary to think that people are being damaged to pursue high production rates. For companies with soaring profits and share prices, and elaborate product development and marketing, it seems they should be all the more culpable if they fail to take care of the production workers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Workers Poisoned Making Touchscreen Hardware

Comments Filter:
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday October 29, 2010 @05:50PM (#34068522) Journal

    Production lines in other countries don't incur the cost of US worker-safety regulations.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People always whine about poor working conditions in 3rd world countries, but then end up buying their products anyway because they're cheaper. I do that too, but I'm not being dishonest about it. Frankly, I don't give a damn if some chinese people die to bring be cheaper iPhones and other goodies. The fact that jobs are being transferred to countries with non-existent worker-safety regulations tells me that most people also don't give a damn.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by belthize (990217)

        You may not give a damn but I'm willing to bet the workers do. The problem is they're either not aware (very likely) or they're forced to choose between that and eating.

        The fact that you're too much of a chicken shit to post your opinion with a name suggests that you do in fact give a damn, enough at least to not associate your own handle with your own oxygen wasting stupidity.

        • by causality (777677) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:19PM (#34068836)

          You may not give a damn but I'm willing to bet the workers do. The problem is they're either not aware (very likely) or they're forced to choose between that and eating.

          The fact that you're too much of a chicken shit to post your opinion with a name suggests that you do in fact give a damn, enough at least to not associate your own handle with your own oxygen wasting stupidity.

          The root of the problem is the same blissful, ignorant indifference that is causing the USA to become a soft-tyranny style police state. The products' marketing don't mention the working conditions that made it available at that price, just like the politicians' campaigns don't mention that the removal of freedom is how many of their goals are accomplished. No one really wants to take a look beneath the surface. It's out of sight, out of mind as though there are no externalities, as though there are no secondary and tertiary effects.

          • The root of the problem is the same blissful, ignorant indifference that is causing the USA to become a soft-tyranny style police state. The products' marketing don't mention the working conditions that made it available at that price....

            Our government takes steps to protect our workers and we expect the Chinese gov't to do the same. Of course we're apathetic, it's not our problem.

            • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:17PM (#34069372)

              If you're a member of the human race, it's your problem. If you have a conscience, it's your problem.

              • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:42PM (#34069590)

                So is it their problem then that there are homeless people near where I live?

                Seriously, the US is supposed to keep its nose out of everybody's business... but now we're supposed to set the example. So which is it? Do we starve them by not buying their products or do we exploit them by buying them?

                Either is fine, but what are THEY doing to solve their OWN problems? Call that apathy if you like, but the critical factor that is being glossed over in order to criticize the US here is that they are allowing this to happen. It doesn't matter how many insightful-mod-bait rhetoric you spew, they still need to stand up and defend themselves.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Sabriel (134364)

                  "Seriously, the US is supposed to keep its nose out of everybody's business... but now we're supposed to set the example. So which is it? Do we starve them by not buying their products or do we exploit them by buying them?"

                  The third choice is that we specify in our contracts with foreign manufacturers that they are to use type X methods (safe but more expensive) than type Y methods (cheaper but poisonous to the workers) and that we are willing to pay the premium involved.

                  Yes, some of them could still lie

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by fishbowl (7759)

                So, what is the solution? What should I do in order to improve the lives of factory workers in China? Please be specific.

                "Stop buying Chinese consumer products" might sound good, but I'd make two points: I buy relatively few consumer products that are made in China, and if we (the West) stop buying their products it will cause their labor conditions to *decline* not *improve*.

                When I got on this anti-China high horse a while back I did some investigation. I ended up with a shirt made in Thailand, an oil

                • The "think globally, act locally" aphorism might apply here. I try to by locally first, nationally second. Domestic stuff gets harder to find. From that point, I try to spread my money, not favoring one particular country or another. Still, I avoid Chinese products where possible because of the debt that the Chinese government owns of the US government paper.

                  Can it be avoided? So far, I have an HDTV, but it's an LCD and doesn't use the manufacturing processes involved in touch screens. Indeed almost everyth

                  • by russotto (537200) on Friday October 29, 2010 @09:28PM (#34070176) Journal

                    If you know something you're considering buying potentially directly hurts the workers making them, do you buy it anyway?

                    Yes. I buy products made on assembly lines with nonzero accident rates, made from metals mined under dangerous conditions (ALL of them are), made from oil drilled and refined under dangerous conditions, processed using energy from coal mined under dangerous conditions, transported over dangerous roads, etc.

                    Fact is, every product -- even those made entirely in 1st world Western countries -- required some danger somewhere in its manufacturing process. You can fairly claim that Chinese manufacturing is unnecessarily dangerous, but you can't set the bar at zero.

                    • by Nyder (754090)

                      If you know something you're considering buying potentially directly hurts the workers making them, do you buy it anyway?

                      Yes. I buy products made on assembly lines with nonzero accident rates, made from metals mined under dangerous conditions (ALL of them are), made from oil drilled and refined under dangerous conditions, processed using energy from coal mined under dangerous conditions, transported over dangerous roads, etc.

                      Fact is, every product -- even those made entirely in 1st world Western countries -- required some danger somewhere in its manufacturing process. You can fairly claim that Chinese manufacturing is unnecessarily dangerous, but you can't set the bar at zero.

                      Accidents happen.

                      Unsafe working conditions aren't accidents, they are purposely bad conditions set to produce cheaper items at the cost of the health or lives of it's workers.

                      You can spin it how you want, but we are abusing the people of 3rd world companies by allowing our companies to manufacture items there.

                      We, as humans on earth, should be treating our fellow humans better.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LWATCDR (28044)

            Wow this is just silly. How narcissistic can one be? This problem has nothing to do with the US and everything to do with China. If a US company did offer to pay more do you think that they would use that money for safe working conditions or do you think they would just take more profit?
            I am all for buying from free nations but that alone will not do much to solve the problem. Until China cares about the Chinese nothing will change.
            The rest is just unrelated.

            • by causality (777677) on Friday October 29, 2010 @09:47PM (#34070278)

              I am all for buying from free nations but that alone will not do much to solve the problem. Until China cares about the Chinese nothing will change. The rest is just unrelated.

              Unfortunately the situation in China is the same as the situation everywhere. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. The problem the Chinese have is that they fear their government, and with very good reason. So long as their political elites are an "untouchable" group who can stomp on their own citizens with no fear for their own personal safety, that will remain the case. It's sad that it comes down to that. What you'd like to believe is that human beings with political power would help other human beings to prosper, that government can be your friend and your buddy who looks out for you. This is absolutely not the reality and never has been.

              Right now Chinese people fear their government and justifiably so. Until and unless this changes, the government of China cares only for the numbers such as its GDP and does not care about the human cost necessary to achieve it. It has no incentive to sacrifice economic gain in order to safeguard things like good working conditions and basic human rights. If it did that, the numbers would not look as good to it.

              The problem everywhere is that people don't understand a basic fact: government represents force and "might makes right" and seeks to maintain a monopoly on the use of force. That is the ONLY THING that makes government different from any other entity. You can dress it up in terms of polls and party affiliation and such, but ultimately government derives its existence from the point of a gun, from superior brute force or threat of force and not from superior wisdom or reason. It is therefore fundamentally untrustworthy and thuggish. More government equals more force and thus, more care that must be taken to ensure that such force is used within strict boundaries. Advocating more government to solve problems that don't require force to solve leads to more subjugation and less freedom.

              The USA's Founding Fathers understood this reality. They knew that the only difference between a tyrannical government and a "good" government was size, managebility, and accountability. These three things are one as they are all related. As size of government goes up, managebility and accountability of government goes down. Eventually it has no purpose other than to perpetuate its own existence. The Chinese are finding this out the hard way, in the form of a government that will happily let them ingest poison so long as the money keeps flowing.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by drinkypoo (153816)

                Unfortunately the situation in China is the same as the situation everywhere. When the government fears the people, there is liberty

                It's become more and more difficult over time to get together and throw a revolution. This is what worries me...

                The Chinese are finding this out the hard way, in the form of a government that will happily let them ingest poison so long as the money keeps flowing.

                We find excessive emissions from power plants and other places with smokestacks as rapidly as we can send people up them to inspect them in THIS country. The FDA has become a vehicle for green-lighting harmful products in THIS country. The auto companies keep selling us bigger and bigger vehicles which consume more and more resources keeping the refineries going 24x7x365 in THIS country. It's time

        • The fact that you're too much of a chicken shit to post your opinion with a name suggests that you do in fact give a damn, enough at least to not associate your own handle with your own oxygen wasting stupidity.

          *clap clap clap*

          Even I caught a little heat off that one.

    • by grumpyman (849537)
      Bingo - the reason to get by without strict regulations and legal system is a big factor into outsourcing. Not only cost in ensuring the safety but also the time it saves from going thru government hoops in a regulated environments.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:27PM (#34068906) Homepage

      The problem is larger than that. In economics, there's the phenomenon of "externalities" -- basically, costs incurred by business operations that aren't paid for by the business itself.

      In the United States, for example, companies are generally expected to provide health insurance coverage for their workers. If a lot of workers get sick and file health claims, the employer's insurance rates go up -- so it's in the employer's interests to maintain a healthful work environment. But if the company doesn't provide health coverage, the costs are still caused by the business, but the expenses are picked up by someone else -- either the employees themselves or the taxpayers (because the employees end up getting many of their medical expenses waived, either intentionally or through bankruptcy). That's an externality.

      The same is true of many of the environmental factors discussed in TFA. If I run a factory that dumps chemicals into a river, and there's no law that says I have to clean up that waste, then that's an externality -- someone is eventually going to have to do something about it, just not me.

      The same with air pollution. If someone notices that the air is getting smoggier, but there's no regulation that says how much particulate matter I'm allowed to release into the atmosphere, then obviously nobody is going to be measuring my emissions and there will be no way to know how much of the smog I'm responsible for. Obviously I won't be factoring that into my balance sheet.

      I'm further willing to venture that in a tightly-controlled authoritarian economy, such as China's, government and party officials are likely to have significant stakes in the businesses that are causing the pollution and health problems, and therefore the incentive to legislate those businesses will be low. Maybe it's worth considering how American businesses can be regulated such that they will be required to pick up costs incurred by their suppliers overseas. If those costs can't be properly accounted for, maybe the American companies should be required to take their business elsewhere.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mosb1000 (710161)

        The powers that be in China basically view the working class as economic cannon fodder. They couldn't care less what happens to those people because they don't think their lives are important. In other countries, someone is expected to provide health care to people as a consequence of this, but in China it is OK if they die because the only externality they have to consider is a loss of productive capacity (and they don't presently have a shortage of that).

        The solution is not that US companies should ta

        • by Jurily (900488)

          The solution is we should take our business elsewhere, because we are the ones who care about the human cost.

          Define "we". Most people care more about the price of the phone they want to buy than the lives of some random Chinese workers. Including the Chinese.

        • The powers that be in China basically view the working class as economic cannon fodder.

          What exactly is it that makes you think that the powers that be in the USA are any different? Did you forget about shooting veterans on the white house lawn? Did you forget about the mass graves of Panamanians on the military base in Panama, people killed in our name? Have you forgotten that only a few of us have strong labor laws (union members) while the rest of us are being pushed further towards poverty by an economy which includes ever more part-time and ever fewer full-time jobs? Did you notice that the banks received bailouts instead of the creation of public works projects which would actually have produced genuine benefit instead of simply permitting execs to take home huge bonuses, bonuses which will be converted to foreign currencies as rapidly as possible?

          We can't afford to be so complacent. There will come a day (or perhaps it is already here) when our "leaders" will view us the same way. This is a situation that can not be tolerated.

          You're tolerating it right now.

          What about hip hop use that fuck a rap battle what about a gat battle lets
          take it to the beast and see which cat tattle
          Is it 'Kiss vs. Beans or P vs. Hov'
          What about the real niggaz vs. the 5-0
          This is M-1, DP, don't you forget
          Cause you can talk talk talk but it don't mean shit
          I ain't gotta pop your top to see where your brains went
          This rap shit is bigger then entertainment
          It's the people vs. the pigs when it all boils down
          It ain't 'Pac vs. Big it;s whos getting the power
          And power ain't money dog its self determination
          Like taking Hot and making this the real People's Station
          THAT'S WAR [lyricstime.com]

          Giving bailouts to the bankers is WAR
          Dumping currency to produce inflation is an act of WAR
          Putting you on the watch list for your political views that's WAR
          Exporting our pollution to China is a strategy of WAR
          You don't even fucking know that you're losing the WAR.

          It's lonely out here in the left-of-left position, but at least I can't be conflated with half-asses.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday October 29, 2010 @05:59PM (#34068612) Homepage

    You know...when ever there's a news story about a portable music device they automatically refer to the Apple iPod, which is irritating as hell.

    The same thing happens with tablets now.

    It's nice that they still drag Apple into a conversation like this...but it's still bullshit.

    Quit saying Apple, ipod, ipad, etc unless it is a story actually about just them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Quit saying Apple, ipod, ipad, etc unless it is a story actually about just them.

      Yeah! It should be about how Steve Jobs hates Chinese people, and forces them to commit suicide and pollute their bodies with horrifying chemicals.

    • by Nocuous (1567933) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:23PM (#34068884)

      You know...when ever there's a news story about a portable music device they automatically refer to the Apple iPod, which is irritating as hell.

      The same thing happens with tablets now.

      It's nice that they still drag Apple into a conversation like this...but it's still bullshit.

      Quit saying Apple, ipod, ipad, etc unless it is a story actually about just them.

      Whenever I mention something about Apple being subject to the laws of business like any other company, people often come out of the woodwork to say something like, "Oh no you dint! Apple is the largest purchaser of in the WORLD, and they can do it faster, cheaper, prettier... etc. etc."

      So, since Apple be the largest X of Y in the WORLD, and first in market share and mind share, I find it entirely appropriate to drag Apple's name into the negative aspects of consumer electronics, including suicides among poorly treated workers, and outright poisoning of them. After all, with the Zune's laughable market share, how many workers could be dying assembling them?

  •     And is anyone asking companies to pay for the costs/injuries from reclaiming materials from the waste stream?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, a very large number of Americans (and other westerners) ARE asking that China do JUST THAT.
      In addition, that China puts pollution controls on their power plants.
      And that China will allow their Yuan to Float.
      And that China will quit dumping on export markets.
      And that China will quit subsidizing.
      And that China will simply live up to the MANY treaties/agreements that they have and ignore.

      The problem is that the CHinese gov. does not honor their word and Western Businesses are taking advantage
  • by mmcxii (1707574) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:02PM (#34068652)
    In the pursuit of cheaper and cheaper goods you're going to have this kind of thing. Sadly, China lowered the price-point so much that it's hard to find many products made in an environment with a reasonable amount of safety and a livable wage for the workers.

    That's what happens when you have a population feeling that they need 54 inch TVs, enough food to kill themselves with, clothes they wear twice before they pitch them in the trash or out grow them, every Pixar film in their home library and two of the biggest three video game consoles for each child.

    People have made a choice between quantity and quality and China is taking the brunt of this along with the spoils.
    • Ahh, so it's my fault that the Chinese people are working in factories with crappy working conditions instead of on farms with crappy working conditions. Lets just stop paying to have things made overseas, that will make the lives of the workers overseas so much better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      Bah, 54" is for people with normal dicks. Mine's extremely small, and 54" wouldn't even begin to compensate.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Or, put another way, China is benefiting enormously from the economic opportunities the market for 54 inch TV's and DVD's has created, and the fact that their labour laws and practices haven't caught up is both a matter of time and necessity. You can't seriously have expected a country that 30 years ago had virtually no trade to suddenly know what of our laws to copy or not. Your supposition of 'need' doesn't make sense. If people needed those goods they would pay higher prices, the fact is they don't n

    • You don't actually believe that given higher prices and less consumption that corporations will stop manufacturing their products under the most environmentally unfriendly and humanly detrimental conditions in order to maximize a profit, do you?

      The driving factor for many of the ills today is one thing and one thing only, an insatiable greed of a tiny portion of the population who are not satisfied with a comfortable life, an elite life, not even an opulent life, nope, the objective is nothing less than tot

  • The workers' paradise!

  • by 18_Rabbit (663482) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:07PM (#34068712)
    When one of the parties has much higher environmental and safety regulations. Of course, this why the wingnuts will tell you we need to dismantle our regulatory systems. Yay! Race to the bottom!
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      No there's plenty of free trade. You know all that stuff that goes intercontinental in the US state by state? Free trade. The stuff that goes in Canada province, by province? Yeah free trade. The reality is most agreements at a federal level are some type of fair trade(that includes nafta).

      Free trade drives markets, especially when you're not being penalized. In turn as it furthers more open markets, people get a better standard of living. You're being obtuse, or perhaps ignorant in thinking that fre

  • by Korveck (1145695)
    China has always been poor in enforcing some basic safety requirements. Every year thousands of Chinese miners die in all sorts of mine-related accidents. Factories can dump toxic chemicals into rivers and get away with it. Harmful materials are regularly used as cheap substitutes in manufacturing. Better yet, most reports on these horrible practices are quickly suppressed. Welcome to the harmonous and prosperous society of Middle Kingdom.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      China has always been poor in enforcing some basic safety requirements.

      British Petroleum has been poor in enforcing some basic safety requirements. China doesn't give a shit about basic safety requirements. Providing major ports like Shanghai are heading to North America and Europe a bazillion pairs of Nike Asskickers, iTubePhone and lead-based children's wear, China and the Chinese manufacturers could care less about safety. In China, whether you died to make the Kuomintang great, or died to make Mao's

  • Capitalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:13PM (#34068782) Homepage Journal

    The market will fix this. Nobody will buy iPhones when they hear about this. And all iPhone consumers in the market will hear about it.

    Right?

    • by ozbird (127571)
      "You gotta tell 'em—iPHONE IS PEOPLE!"

      "Whatever. Does it come in white?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      The market will fix this.

      Huh? I know you're trying to be clever and sarcastic, here, and normally I'm the first to attack free market purists, but I don't see anyone claiming that this kind of thing will be solved by the invisible hand.

      This is, put simply, a classic example of a negative externality. The only solution is government regulation or taxation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're both right. This is a classic negative externality. People who know about economics recognize the importance of regulation (and taxation!) in correcting such "flaws" in the market. But people in politics who shout about "the free market" either don't understand externalities or (far more likely) have a vested interest in protecting the beneficiaries of those externalities. So you've got Rand Paul out there shouting about how it's just totally wrong for the government to ever regulate mountaintop mini

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:13PM (#34068788) Journal
    In case anyone is interested, n-hexane is a straight-chain hydrocarbon, six (predictably) carbons long. It's similar to gasoline, which is a mixture of straight-chain and branched-chain hydrocarbons, that average about eight carbons (hence 'octane number': the reference for gasoline volatility is a specific eight-carbon molecule.) Hexane is often used as a solvent and cleaning agent, replacing the much better but much more toxic benzene, also a six-carbon molecule, and a number of other solvents that do a great job solvating but also do a great job poisoning people in both short and long term exposures.

    It's pretty common in production facilities, particularly manufacturing lines, to start out with good chemical control: a fireproof safe from which people have to check out material, and over time, as the manufacturing process evolves, people keep finding they need to wash stuff up at one step and pretty soon a jug of solvent just gets left there and people start splashing it around. Gloves get in the way, or get caught in machinery, so people stop using those, too. Then, in the US, OSHA makes more and more drastic rules about allowing solvents of any sort, to try to prevent this happening, and manufacturers have to find another solvent, which then gets used in the same way with the same results.

    Point being, it's not particularly OSHA that's the problem: they're trying to stop people poisoning themselves. The issue is manufacturing processes with unanticipated problems, and production workers who find ways to overcome the problems without realizing that they're endangering themselves. In China there's less concern over workers endangering themselves than in the US, although the difference is primarily in degree, but the same general problem is seen in most manufacturing environments.

    • Point being, it's not particularly OSHA that's the problem: they're trying to stop people poisoning themselves. The issue is manufacturing processes with unanticipated problems, and production workers who find ways to overcome the problems without realizing that they're endangering themselves.

      You know this and I know this, so isn't it safe to say that OSHA knows this? And that they're spending effort not really solving any problems?

      I know, how many bureaucrats does it take to say, "pfft, there's nothing we can really do that will help here."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cyberidian (1917584)
      I am not advocating people being poisoned, but I do think it is unfair to judge China, a developing industrial nation, by US safety standards today. The US has had many decades to develop its manufacturing base before these types of concerns even existed. If you think about it, one of the reasons why these types of devices are built in China and not the US is because the US has so many regulations that it is too expensive to manufacture almost anything in the US. While I do think US companies should be pres
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Further, N-hexane use is already banned in China for use as a solvent when cleaning LCD panels. Also, Wintek (the screen supplier for Apple, Nokia, and several other companies) claims that they have not used it since August of 2009. (Source: Engadget [engadget.com]) In other words, this story seems to be more than a year behind. Sure, the effects can still be seen in much the same way that the effects of Chernobyl can still be seen, but that doesn't mean people are still actively being harmed as this story seems to im

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rich0 (548339)

      The issue is manufacturing processes with unanticipated problems, and production workers who find ways to overcome the problems without realizing that they're endangering themselves.

      No, the issue is that companies put profits above safety.

      If workers remove their gloves, they should be fired. If an inspector finds a worker not wearing gloves, the company should be fined big-time. The employer is in charge of the workplace, and so they are responsible for what happens, period.

      If you set your policy any oth

  • the citizens have no right to elect their own government, and so they are basically slaves to a few grumpy technocrats in beijing

    and the shame is, americans are happy to support this human rights quagmire, because they get cheap plastic crap in the bargain. all the while, they let their own manufacturing sector rot and their economy go to hell, because slave labor is obviously cheaper

    who cares about human rights, who cares about my own country's economy, as long as i get my fucking shiny smartphone

    blame cor

    • by ozbird (127571)
      Too late - China p0wns you. The shiny trinkets are there to keep the proles happy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        its true

        we waste our young folk's lives and trillions of our dollars to ensure the stability of the oil supply... for the growth of china

        the usa has become nothing but the thug enforcer for china

    • by geekoid (135745)

      yes, only american buy goods from China~

  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug&geekazon,com> on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:24PM (#34068890) Homepage

    The only comfort I take in the Global Economy is that eventually every part of the world will be industrialized and we'll run out of cheap labor hellholes to have our gadgets made in. I still remember in the 60s when Made in Japan was synonymous with cheap plastic crap. The process that has taken place in Japan since WWII is repeating at a faster pace in places like China and Mexico. Now those countries have a growing consumer class that is looking for cheap labor in other places. After the cycle happens across South America and Africa, the party will be over and so will the culture of endless business growth based on cheap labor.

  • "It's scary to think that people are being damaged to pursue high production rates."

    Damaged? What a peculiar choice of words. People get harmed or injured; machines and tools get damaged and malfunction.

  • by Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) on Friday October 29, 2010 @06:42PM (#34069076)

    Dear China,

    You have a unique and valuable natural resource. You have been selling it at a deep discount so you could get a firm grasp on the balls of every modern nation on earth. Let's call that mission accomplished. You can now start raising the price, and using the increased profits to clean up your country before you kill off the very resource that has created all this wealth. Sure, some bottom-feeders will go elsewhere, but those who stick with you will pay more, and allow you to actually improve your country.

    Don't do it all at once - just practice boiling a frog by slowly warming the water. A small increase every quarter will do. However, don't let me catch you pocketing the profits. If you don't start buying scrubbers for your smokestacks, and water treatment plants, I might have to come down and smite your ass.

    With Love

    God, Buddha, or whatever higher power is in style this week

    • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday October 29, 2010 @09:59PM (#34070358) Journal
      You know, that's already happening here in China. Not only are worker's wages going up (about 10% this year, about 12% last year, probably another 10% this coming year), but environmental regulations are starting to be tightened AND enforced, and the country is starting to move up. It IS getting better, and in another 2-3 generations it'll be quite nice (about what the US took - remember the Cuyahoga River catching fire from all the pollution? [wikipedia.org] The last time was in 1969 - barely 40 years ago.

      .
      First, people concern themselves with just getting food and water and shelter. Once they have that, they start worrying about the quality of those things. China's making huge strides towards those basics, and much of the population is now starting to look for quality, to the point that organic foods are becoming available in better supermarkets.

      It's heading in the right direction... Hopefully they'll tighten things up without going to the extreme we see in the US and the EU, in terms of every little safety requirement and regulation.

  • So what? Isn't this why American companies make their products there? So you can poison your workers and not have to pay squat?

  • by John Sokol (109591) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:05PM (#34069290) Homepage Journal

    Hexane is derived from petroleum. It is a colorless, volatile liquid with a mild, gasoline-like odor.

    It's used in Electrical contact cleaner, and Computer monitor screen cleaners.

    Hexane is the dominate extraction solvent for oil seeds throughout the world, including soybean and other high volume oils used for human and animal consumption. 95% of the world's corn oil is produced from corn germ obtained by wet-milling.
    The corn germ is dried, then shipped to hexane extraction facilities to obtain the oil.

    Basically corn oil and high fructose corn syrup are contaminated with the stuff in small amounts.

    http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5118098_corn-oil-processing.html [ehow.com]

  • These same factories pump out tons of Chinese branded touch screen cell phones and personal media players. They aren't just making them for US companies like Apple.
  • American workers often lose their health and their lives as companies that have big money have influenced our law makers. Getting sued for wrongful death of a worker is far better money wise than creating a safe work place. Workman's Compensation is so pitiful with the stingy sums payed out for injured workers and they often are not allowed access to the courts as Workman's Comp laws block that right.

Passwords are implemented as a result of insecurity.

Working...