I ask because it seems the manufacturing process in China is less well regulated and the workers seemingly would be exposed to more harmful chemicals.
Your guess is very accurate. As an average, Chinese workers are indeed frequently exposed to harmful chemicals and dangerous situations. This is because consumers want everything to be as cheap as possible and that means production costs will be cut.
For instance, there is evidence that asbestos causes cancer and has therefor been banned in many wealthy countries. Unfortunatly this does not included countries like India and China, who knowingly use asbestos in manufacturing.
Because of the lax regulations in poor manufacturing countires like China, pollution is rampent. Airborne and waterborne pollution from factories often drift or flow into nearly villages. Villages near factories have have cancer rates “much higher than the national average” according to many human rights groups. Cancer has been named the leading cause of death; 1 in 5 Chinese will die of cancer.
The factory workers themselves may be in the most danger, although exact statistics are hard to come by. The short answer is yes, they absolutely do have higher cancer rates than workers in developed nations. Until these developed nations are willing to pay more for products, production costs will remain as low as possible and human lives will be endangered.
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