Computer Cancer Cover-up
Microchip Production’s Link to Leukemia
Workers at IBM and at other microchip fabs, or “fabrication plants,” are exposed to benzene and other toxic carcinogens that can cause birth defects, leukemia, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions. While “bunny suits” prevent dust, hair, and skin cells from coming into contact with microchips, too often not enough is done in microchip factories to prevent the person inside the suit from breathing dangerous cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde while at the workplace.
Since 2000, IBM has faced lawsuits from more than 250 former microchip plant employees. And since 2000, IBM has worked to suppress scientific findings showing the increase of cancer incidences in their microchip plant workers.
Big Blue’s Benzene Cancer Cover-up
When in 2004 Dr. Joe LaDou, of the University of California at San Francisco tried to publish a paper detailing these benzene and other cancer risks to microchip plant employees, IBM threatened to sue the journal Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Fearing the financial giant, the journal declined the study. When other scientists heard about this corporate censorship, they withdrew their upcoming articles from the journal in protest. (1)
A similar suppression occurred when Richard Clapp, a Boston University epidemiologist (scientist studying outbreaks of disease in populations), found that for certain kinds of cancer workers at IBM have double the rate of the normal population. (2) He spent three years fighting IBM for the right to publish this data. (3)
Neither researcher has faced as much pressure and frustration as the New York township of Endicott, the hometown of IBM, though.
Endicott, IBM, and Cancer
IBM is receiving pressure from a group of private citizens in Endicott, NY concerned about the high incidence of cancer in their town. IBM circuit board plant on North Street is being cited for a rise in testicular, kidney, and other cancers as well as birth defects in newborns. (4) The prevalence of cases has led to proposal for the largest cancer study ever to look into the IBM-cancer link.
The frustration facing cancer patients in Endicott is proving that the IBM factory’s carcinogens caused their cancers. Different carcinogens are used today than used in yesteryears. Also, cause and effect are easy to show with immediate onsite injuries like falls, burns, or loss of consciousness but are harder to prove with illnesses that take years to develop. Though benzene and formaldehyde carry FDA’s “known carcinogen” (formerly “Class A”) status, the plethora of risk factors for leukemia and other cancers allow for guilty parties to attribute cancers to other factors.
Additionally, many states have statutes of limitations that discourage workers from filing injury claims. Time is of the essence in benzene exposure cases, even though experienced lawyers can sometimes overcome a statute of limitations when cancers are developed later in life.
Other Microchip Cancer-Risk Companies
IBM is, of course, not the only manufacturer of computer chips. Workers for Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), AMCC, Texas Instruments, and other microchip manufacturers may also be exposed to dangerous, leukemia-causing levels of benzene and other carcinogens.
Additionally, American workers are exposed in other industries including, but not limited to, tire repair, oil refinery, plane refuelers, and synthetics manufacturers.
Lawyers for Change
If you believe workplace exposure to benzene caused your cancer, contact the Consumer Justice Group. Help us force corporations to be responsible for their actions, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve before time runs out. Click here for a workplace benzene exposure lawyer.
The Leukemia Health News is a service of the Consumer Justice Group.