Advertisements for technology make it seem like a good thing, something that connects us and improves our lives, but the human cost is much more complicated and negative than that.
A girl tells a story of her mom leaving to work and how she went to search for her and rescue her.
Another had a dream to leave home.
One started working at age 14 to help her parents and to pay for her education.
In China, every year, over 12 million teens leave home to find work.
A workday started at 8 am and ended at 11 pm. There were no holidays and one night off a month.
When people weren't eating or sleeping, they were wiping things with chemicals in rooms that had no windows or ventilation.
Ming Quin Pong just turned 26. He has occupational leukemia, caused by Benzene in the workplace.
Benzene is a Category 1 carcinogen banned in most Western countries. China, which makes over 50% of the world's cell phones, is an exception.
One man speaks of chemotherapy and intense pain. Another says he has been living in a hospital for six years. He feels as if his life is over, as if the hospital is a prison. It took one 19 months to prove his leukemia was related to work. Factory owners told people not to tell others why, that the cancer was caused by work there. Many were denied compensation for their illnesses.
The girl who had gone to work to relieve her parents of work says she became their burden after being poisoned.
The man's father asks if he misses home, if he wants to go home, then says, “Let's go home.” The man with poisoning stays silent and then walks away. Six weeks later, he committed suicide by jumping off the building. A support group for Benzene patients held a meeting and said they would live on.
They want to deliver a message to the public that Benzene can be replaced by safer alternatives. Benzene is widely used in various industries. Workers work in toxic environments, but customers are also exposed. Right now, there are no Benzene-free electronics, but consumers can ask and get in touch with brands and express concern about Benzene poisoning.
According to Chinese government statistics, one person will be poisoned by toxic chemicals every five hours, most of them from Benzene. A Benzene-free device would cost consumers less than $1 USD more than usual.
A woman writes to her family. She tried to commit suicide but was too weak. Now she will try to survive.
QUESTIONS: 1. What were reasons some people referenced for going to work in factories? 2. What's wrong with Benzene? What health problems does it cause? 3. What does Ming Quin Pong have? 4. How are people exposed to Benzene in factories? 5. What percentage of the world's cell phones does China produce? 6. What happened to Ming Quin Pong? 7. Is Benzene dangerous to consumers? 8. How can consumers change this situation? 9. How much more would a Benzene-free device cost?