Occupational and Environmental Health – Cross Cutting Issues in China

Cover photo for OEH report

Over many years, China has become the “world’s factory” and its industrial development has greatly increased employment opportunities. This has also been accompanied by the frequent occurrence of production safety accidents, however. Such occupational hazards have been the cause of safety accidents and have also extended beyond the factory walls and resulted in the release of harmful emissions into the natural environment, causing ecological damage and harming the health of nearby residents.
When production safety and environmental pollution accidents occur, different groups become concerned about the harmful impacts to themselves, the community and to future generations, and try to find preventative and remedial measures. However, when we collected data in preparation for writing this article, we found that very few studies and reports related to occupational health paid attention to the impact of occupational hazards to environmental health. At the same time, reports about environmental pollution also rarely mentioned that pollution and emissions from factories and mines are poisoning workers (reports concerning harmful substances in food, toys, clothing and other products also rarely mentioned the impact on workers). Therefore, this article tries to pass through the factory walls and to explore the common problems faced in the two areas of occupational health and environmental health, as well as possibilities for cooperation by organisations internationally related to resources and activities.
Since we are not professionals in the field on environmental protection, the data related to pollution problems was mostly only found on the internet. For some areas (such as nuclear plants) very little information was available. Due to length and capacity constraints, we can only consider the effects of some of the major topics and preliminarily build a loose framework which we leave to later be filled. We would also like to thank our friends in environmental circles for providing valuable advice.