The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Lead Batteries Contaminate Chinese Workers

Oct 31, 2011

Angry Chinese workers and parents have attacked a dozen smelting plants and battery factories in the last three years. With good reason.

Recently China has become the leading producer of lead batteries in the world. And the way lead batteries are produced in China and elsewhere causes serious damage. Not only does the metal used in this production contaminate soil, ruining agricultural areas, but the workers themselves have been harmed and their children have suffered developmental damage.

Even the Chinese media reported that some adults were severely poisoned by lead recently. Twenty-six adults were severely affected and another 494 showed moderate poisoning from lead. Even worse, more than 100 children in the town where lead batteries were produced were also poisoned.

China today is repeating what England went through in the early days of capitalist industrialization. Many English workers died young from lead poisoning and other ills caused by the way capitalism pushes for profit, ignoring the most basic safety precautions.

And just like in England, workers will get no protection for themselves unless they fight to put their needs before the drive for profit – as Chinese workers have been doing.