In 1975, when she was 18 years old, Yvette Flores got her first job. She helped assemble delicate parts to make some of the first supermarket checkout scanners. When her son Mark was born five years later, he had severe disabilities.
It took 30 years for her to connect her son’s problems to that first job.
Yvette discovered that she’d been inhaling and ingesting lead all day in the factory where she worked. And she’s not the only one. An occupational medicine doctor who treated workers in Silicon Valley in the 1970s and ’80s tells us about the widespread illnesses and injuries he saw – and how hard it was to get companies to open up about what was making his patients sick.
Reveal reporter Laura Starecheski partnered up with Jim Morris from The Center for Public Integrity to bring us Yvette and Mark’s story and also alert us to an alarming practice: Chemical exposures that never would be acceptable outside a plant’s fence are not only tolerated, but legal, inside the plant.
- Read the full story at PublicIntegrity.org.
- Interactive: A comparison of chemical exposure limits and cancer risk.
- Check out more from CPI’s Unequal risk series here.