RICHMOND, VA (AP) -- An international rights group says children as young as 7 are working long hours in US fields harvesting tobacco under sometimes hazardous and sweltering conditions.
The Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday details findings from interviews with more than 140 children working on farms in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.
The group acknowledges that most of what it documented is legal under US law. The group is trying to highlight the practice and urge both governments and tobacco companies to take further steps to protect children.
Children interviewed by the group reported symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning from workers absorbing nicotine through their skin while handling tobacco plants.
The children said they worked long hours without overtime pay or sufficient breaks and wore no, or inadequate, protective gear.
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