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A Toxics-Free Future


These Women are Paying the Price for Our Digital World

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.

These are some of the women of Banolim, an organization that has worked with current and former semiconductor workers in South Korea, helping dozens of them bring workers’ compensation cases and, where necessary, challenge the rejections of their claims. The group was founded in support of Hwang Sang-ki, a taxi driver who challenged Samsung after his daughter and a co-worker at a Samsung plant died of a rare and aggressive form of leukemia in 2007. Banolim has helped researchers document cancer cases across the industry. Its representatives also are now working with women on reproductive health claims, an area that’s likely to grow in the wake of a government decision in March. That’s when Kim Mi-yeon was recognized as the first semiconductor worker to suffer occupational illness related to reproductive health.