Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry

The release of Al Gore’s documentary in 2006 has sparked a revitalized interest in environmental problems facing our country and the world.  Among the most critical is electronics manufacturing pollution and “e-waste” which The Wall Street Journal has called “the world’s fastest growing and potentially most dangerous waste problem.”

Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry is a diverse collection of 26 stories about the toxic impacts of electronics manufacturing on workers and communities around the world. Whether it’s in Silicon Valley, California; Silicon Glen, Scotland; or Silicon Paddy, China, Challenging the Chip reveals that the people who suffer the highest consequences are largely poor, female, immigrant and minority. Contributors include visionaries, advocates and scholars who not only document the devastating practices of electronics manufacturing, but also share how they have come together in their workplaces, communities and across borders to successfully shift how the high-tech industry does business.

However, Challenging the Chip goes beyond just challenging the dark side of electronics, it challenges the industry to use its incredible brain power and ingenuity to dazzle the world again with green technologies that are toxic-free and easy to recycle.

“Challenging the Chip is essential reading for anyone who owns a cell phone or computer. As its vividly written chapters reveal, our digital possessions connect us not only to global information but also to global contamination and injustice. Happily, this book shows us that we can have technology and clean water, too: Electronics sustainability is organic agriculture for iPods.”—Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment.

Ted Smith is founder of Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Chair of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, and coordinator of ICRT. A Q&A with Ted Smith is available in which he answers questions about the state of the global electronics industry.

David A. Sonnenfeld is Professor and Chair, Dept. of Environmental Studies at State University of New York, Syracuse. He is co-editor of Ecological Modernisation Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates.

David Naguib Pellow is Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota. He is the author of Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago and co-author of The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Global Economy.


Contact for Challenging the Chip
Temple University Press
For more information on the book go to:

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