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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Human Rights

Korean News Network, JTBC, covers report on Samsung workers in Vietnam. Click this link for a translation of the story: http://ipen.org/site/korean-news-jtbc-covers-report-samsung-vietnam

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(Göteborg, Sweden) In an unprecedented study on the experiences of women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam, a report released this week documents health and workplace violations by the electronics industry giant. The workers’ experiences of frequent fainting, dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work are documented in a report released this week by the Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN, a global network of environment and health NGOs working to reduce harmful chemicals. 

Samsung dominates the global phone market as well as the electronics sector and economy of Vietnam, where 50% of its smart phones are produced. The electronics sector is a significant area of growth for Vietnam, as electronics exports outpace other exports. However, Vietnam has no labor codes specifically protecting the health of electronics industry workers, who are overwhelmingly women.

Stories from women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam are documented in a report by the  Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN. The unprecedented study of 45 workers reports frequent fainting, dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work. This study is important because the lives and rights of workers in the electronics industry in Vietnam have been neglected in research and policy.

In the nearest future, we expect a major and important event for all of us - the First Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. We invested a lot of effort into the development and promotion of the Convention. We congratulate all people who facilitated the event by their work, knowledge and devotion!

The Minamata Convention on Mercury prioritises environmental considerations over interests of global businesses used to pursue their financial gains in a resource-based economy that ignores environmental effects. It is not only associated with banning primary mercury extraction from global deposits, it also deals with tightening control over different industrial operations, particularly with extraction and processing non-ferrous metals ores, that are accompanied by uncontrolled releases of many tons of mercury into the environment.

The National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea has paid meaningful attention to the hazardous conditions in the semi-conductor industry by hosting Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semi-Conductor Industry (SHARPs) and IPEN for a premiere of the new documentary film, "Stories from the Clean Room.” In preparation for the film premiere, IPEN Senior Science and Technical Advisor Joseph DiGangi, PhD wrote an article that appeared in the Korean media outlets OhMyNews and MediaToday. The main purpose of the article was to introduce the international concern about toxic exposure and occupational health and safety that has been generated by the deaths and grave illnesses of former Samsung workers.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/photo-essays/2017-06-15/these-women-are-p...

Workers in Asian factories might still be exposed to chemicals banned in the U.S. 25 years ago. Photographs by Anastasia Taylor-Lind for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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