Child Labor In North Carolina Tobacco Fields

Aug 5, 2014

Tobacco harvest in NC
Credit Jim Dollar/Flickr

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired June 25, 2014.

Federal law permits children to work in agriculture from younger ages and for longer hours than any other industry.

recent report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch documents the exposure of children working on tobacco farms to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers. Half of American-produced tobacco is grown in North Carolina, and the report documents children in the state getting sick while working and not having sufficient access to protective gear or water.

Host Frank Stasio talks to sisters who worked in tobacco fields as youth: Neftali Cuello and Yesenia Cuello. He also speaks with Margaret Wurth, children's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report; Sara Quandt, professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine; and Graham Boyd, executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.

Here is the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina's response to the report.