Maria has immigrated to the United States in search of a better
job. She has gotten a job in a chip manufacturing plant in Silicon
Valley, home of a booming economy. However, inside the factory,
things are not always clean. Workers are exposed to toxic chemicals
and are often not informed of the potential hazards. Information
about the chemicals can be found in the Material Safety Data Sheets
(MSDS), but finding the sheets can be a challenge!
Silicon Valley displays
many of the components of globalization. Technology companies
have created fortunes for some people and they export their products
throughout the world, yet at home and abroad, manufacturing workers
and the environment are not sharing in the wealth.
The problems Maria faces are part of the toxic history of Silicon Valley
and continue to this day. Chip-making plants and computer manufacturers
make heavy use of cheaper immigrant and foreign labor, locate their factories
in poor neighborhoods and countries, and get tax and pollution exemptions
to do so.