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Brake plant workers suffer serious work-related health effects

Randy Ludlow of the The Columbus Dispatch reports that nearly five years after more than a quarter of TRW brake plant's 400 workers contracted respiratory illnesses, dozens remain disabled and out of work. Federal investigators concluded the outbreak was workplace-related but did not determine the exact cause. Ludlow reveals that TRW Automotive, a $10 billion conglomerate with headquarters in Livonia, Mich., couldn't have violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards because there aren't any. "Disregarding alarms sounded by its own advisory committee and the occupational arm of the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Labor has declined for years to regulate worker exposure to metalworking fluids. " Ludlow also tells the story of an ill worker who took his own life (Editor's note: For other workplace stories, IRE and NICAR offer data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, detailing inspection results, worker accidents, hazardous substance injuries and workplace violations.)

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