NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Child labor in the United States: historical background and current crisis.
Landrigan PJ; Pollack SH; Belville R; Godbold JG
Mt Sinai J Med 1992 Nov; 59(6):498-503
Health and safety risks associated with child labor were considered. More than 4 million children under 18 were legally employed in 1988 in the United States. Illegal child labor was also widespread. Particularly severe abuses have been documented in so called free enterprise zones in the world where the enforcement of protective laws has been relaxed. Increased poverty, unstable world conditions, and a relaxation of the child labor laws since 1980 have increased the use of child labor in the United States. Children were frequently employed illegally and often under sweatshop conditions. This included establishments not only in the garment and meat packing industries, but in restaurants and grocery stores as well. Sweatshop workers were at high risk of dying of fire due to inappropriate and lax safety standards. Not only were there increased risks of injury, illness and toxic exposure to these children, but the risk of interrupted education and development results in a continuation of the child into adulthood in similar work situations. Lacerations and burns were common hazards in fast food establishments, among the most rapidly growing industries and one of the largest employers of youth in the United States today. The delivery of pizzas and other hot food was also extremely hazardous due to policies which encouraged reckless driving. Health risks to agricultural child laborers were also considered. The authors recommend measures for the prevention of illness and injury in child labor.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Traumatic-injuries; Accident-statistics; Occupational-health; Age-groups; Agricultural-workers; Garment-workers; Age-factors; Fire-hazards; Occupational-exposure; Retail-workers
Community Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine One Gustave L Levy Place New York, NY 10029
Issue of Publication
Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York
Page last reviewed: June 12, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division