cover of book

Workers At Risk: Voices from the Workplace
by Dorothy Nelkin and Michael S. Brown
University of Chicago Press, 1984
Cloth: 978-0-226-57127-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-57128-7
Library of Congress Classification HD7654.N45 1984
Dewey Decimal Classification 363.110973

Workers at Risk is a powerful and moving documentary of workers routinely exposed to toxic chemicals. Products and services we all depend on—glass bottles, computers, processed foods and fresh flowers, dry cleaning, medicines, even sculpture and silkscreened toys—are produced by workers in constant contact with more than 63,000 commercial chemicals. For many of them, the risk of death is a way of life.

More than seventy of them speak here of their jobs, their health, and the difficult choices they face in coming to grips with the responsibilities, risks, fears, and satisfactions of their work. Some struggle for information and acknowledgment of their health risks; others struggle to put out of their minds the dangers they know too well. Through extensive interviews, the authors have captured in these voices that double bind of the chemical worker: "If I had known that it would be that lethal, that it could give me or one of my children cancer, I would have refused to work. But it's a matter of survival and we just don't consider all these things. Meanwhile, we've got to make money to survive."

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