The Cancer Factory: Industrial Chemicals, Corporate Deception, and the Hidden Deaths of American Workers (Hardcover)

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The Cancer Factory: Industrial Chemicals, Corporate Deception, and the Hidden Deaths of American Workers By Jim Morris Cover Image

The Cancer Factory: Industrial Chemicals, Corporate Deception, and the Hidden Deaths of American Workers (Hardcover)


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The story of a group of Goodyear Tire and Rubber workers fatally exposed to toxic chemicals, the lawyer who sought justice on their behalf, and the shameful lack of protection our society affords all workers

A gripping narrative in the tradition of A Civil Action and Toms River

Working at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company chemical plant in Niagara Falls, New York, was considered a good job. It was the kind of industrial manufacturing job that allowed blue-collar workers to thrive in the latter half of the 20th century--that allowed them to buy their own home, and maybe a boat for the lake.

But it was also the kind of job that gave you bladder cancer.

The Cancer Factory tells the story of the workers who experienced one of the nation's worst, and best-documented, outbreaks of work-related cancer, and the lawyer who has represented the bladder-cancer victims at the plant for more than thirty years, as well as the retired workers who have been diagnosed with the disease and live in constant fear of its recurrence.

In doing so it tells a story of corporate malfeasance and governmental neglect. Workers have only weak protections from exposure to toxic substances in America, and regulatory breaches contribute to an estimated 95,000 deaths from occupational illness each year. Goodyear, and its chemical supplier, Dupont, knew that two of the chemicals used in the plant had been shown to cause cancer, but made little effort to protect the plant's workers until the cluster of bladder cancer cases--and deaths--was undeniable. Based on four decades of reporting and delving deeply into the scientific literature about toxic substances and health risks, the arcana of worker regulations, and reality of loose enforcement, The Cancer Factory exposes the sometimes deadly risks too many workers face.
Jim Morris is managing editor for environment and workers’ rights at the Center for Public Integrity. A journalist since 1978, Morris has won more than 80 awards for his work, including the George Polk award, the Sidney Hillman award, 3 National Association of Science Writers awards, and 2 Edward R. Murrow awards. Morris’s 2014 series “Big Oil, Bad Air,” a collaboration with InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel garnered 10 national awards for its revelations about toxic air emissions from hydraulic fracturing. He helped edit the Center's first Pulitzer Prize-winning project, “Breathless and Burdened,” a 2013 investigation into the deeply flawed federal black-lung benefits system for coal miners. Follow him on Twitter (@jimgmorris).
Product Details ISBN: 9780807059142
ISBN-10: 0807059145
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 264
Language: English
“A devastating and thorough critique of corporate greed, deception, and lack of concern for worker health.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A powerful indictment of corporate greed and regulatory laxity and a moving commentary on its human costs.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Morris’s chronicle vividly reveals the dangers of cancer, birth defects, and other health complications in chemical factories while holding out hope for change for the better in spite of polarized politics and corporate influence.”

“In telling the breathtaking story of the Goodyear workers, Jim Morris writes with passion, precision, and moral clarity. He shows how the devastation in Niagara Falls is part of a much larger systemic failure to value people over profits—and what it will take to create a more just future. A powerful and essential read.”
—Anna Clark, author of The Poisoned City

“Veteran journalist Jim Morris has written a must-read chronicle of how DuPont and other chemical manufacturers conceal information about the hazards of the chemicals they manufacture, then deny responsibility when exposure to their products destroys lives and devastates families. It is a terrific book.”
—David Michaels, former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and author of The Triumph of Doubt

The Cancer Factory is the book Jim Morris was meant to write, the culmination of decades of dogged reporting on the slow-motion disaster of occupational disease. Morris deftly weaves together a shameful history of corporate deception, regulatory failures, and political cowardice with an intimate accounting of the devastating consequences for workers. He writes with restrained outrage of the damning evidence he has unearthed and with deep empathy for the mechanics, technicians, stonecutters, lawyers, physicians, and scientists pressing for justice. By illuminating a dark corner of American industry—one that receives far too little attention, even as laborers continue to die from long-known hazards while facing an onslaught of novel poisons—Morris has done a great public service.”
—Chris Hamby, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter for the New York Times and author of Soul Full of Coal Dust

“No journalist knows more about toxic chemicals in the workplace than Jim Morris. The Cancer Factory is the crowning achievement of his estimable career spent walking fence lines, factory floors, and doctor’s offices. By the time you’ve finished it, you will not only know why manufacturers and the government have failed abjectly to protect workers; you will also understand the terrible consequences of their neglect.”
—Dan Fagin, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation