American Imports, Chinese Deaths

Reporter Loretta Tofani gets inside America's factory, China, where the lack of health and safety precautions has Chinese workers dying.

In interviews with dozens of dying workers and through review of their medical records, she documents how Chinese workers routinely lose limbs from old machinery or develop fatal diseases from exposure to toxins while making products for export to the U.S. market.

Analysis of U.S. import records traces the goods those workers make to U.S. businesses and consumers. A century ago death and disease were the norm for American workers too, on unregulated factory floors. Those risks have shifted now to China. But America is still at the heart of the story, a result of its reliance on Chinese workers to make cheap consumer goods. Tofani's reporting shows how Chinese workers are paying the real price of Americans' cheap goods, with their health and their lives.

China: Powerless to Fight the Poison

For years, Chinese workers making nickel-cadmium batteries for U.S. distributors such as Eveready and Energizer complain of sickness, not realizing that cadmium can lead to kidney failure and death.

China: Sick from Furniture Fumes

Exposure to chemicals in paint and varnish has claimed lives of Chinese workers who produce furniture for major U.S. companies like Restoration Hardware, Ethan Allen Furniture and Haverty Furniture.