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The hidden human costs of America’s “dirty work”

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An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row.
An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row.

Those who do contemporary society’s most ethically troubling and hazardous “dirty work” can endure health and safety risks as well as psychological and emotional hardships.

Usually, undesirable work is performed by less-privileged, marginalized people who end up taking them out of financial necessity. These jobs are often deemed essential, but the labor is done out of sight and mind.

In his new book, journalist Eyal Press exposes realities experienced by those tasked with doing jobs the rest of society doesn’t notice or want to see.

What harsh conditions are these individuals exposed to? What does this say about our society's occupational and moral standards?

What is the hidden human cost of America’s “dirty work”?

Guest: Eyal Press, journalist and author of "Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America"

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, December 13.