UPDATE: On 14 May 2015, CLW sent the $425 we raised for Chen Yuelin directly to him via wire transfer. He has recently confirmed that he has received the funds, writing in an email: “I am truly grateful to you all. Only you all have been willing to work to help me.”
Chen Yuelin is a 34-year old worker who contracted Chronic n-hexane poisoning while working in a sweatshop producing computer cases, luggage, and other bags for brands like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsonite in a factory called Hangzhou Ligao Travel Products, which also goes by the English name League.
At League factory, Chen Yuelin worked over 60 hours per week on the production line. As part of daily work at League factory, Chen was regularly exposed to the chemical n-hexane, a known toxic substance used for cleaning products during manufacturing.
Management didn’t tell Chen about the chemical or its risks while he came in contact with the poison day-after-day. Without sufficient protections or other safety measures, prolonged contact with n-hexane will lead to damage to a person’s central nervous system.
The poisoning has taken Chen’s ability to work. On a daily basis, Chen faces limb numbness, lack of strength, diminished balance, inability to grasp with his fingers, and weight loss. Without the ability to work, Chen is not only prevented for supporting himself, he also cannot support his parents, who are both farmers.
A doctor estimated that it would cost 50,000 RMB (US$8,145) per month for full treatment. (The bulk of the cost includes injections at US$130 per injection; other treatments include IV, physiotherapy, possibly UV radiation, medicine, and Chinese medicine for limb numbness.)
After Chen funds the first month’s treatment, he should be able to get work injury insurance reimbursements to cover subsequent month’s costs.
Contribute to Chen’s medical fund by clicking here.
League factory refuses to provide Chen with the money for treatment. In 2013, after Chen began investigating the cause of his sickness, the company suddenly fired him, ostensibly for a past conflict with his co-worker.
China Labor Watch has also appealed to Dell and Hewlett-Packard to provide an advance to Chen so that he can begin treatment—he would return the money to the companies with insurance reimbursement. Despite Chen making their products, Dell and HP turned down the opportunity to help Chen.
Sitting at home in the dark is Chen’s reality now. He is exhausted and has little ability to support himself or his loved ones.