A newly published report by AMRC titled “Offshoring the Risk: Gendered Occupational Hazards in Malaysian and Indonesian Electronics Factories” studies the reproductive and general health problems caused by exposure to hazardous substances coupled with sweatshop conditions in electronics factories. The research also documents the working conditions of women and women migrants in the electronics industry.

The research was conducted in four electronics factories in Indonesia and Malaysia. Two factories in Malaysia produce semiconductor devices and components, while a factory in Indonesia produces blood pressure monitor devices and the other produces earphones.

The report found the use of chemical products and substances such as toluene, ethyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and nitric acid in the production process. The improvements regarding safety in the workplace are only made temporarily whenever an audit is coming. It also found that no monitoring of workers’ health.

The research argues that differences in labor rights and conditions enjoyed by the workers can depend on several factors, including their place in the supply chain and their employment status. The closer a company to the buyer, the better the working conditions. However purchasing practices of lead firms put pressure on suppliers to lower costs thus impacting workers.

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