Several semiconductor companies are defending themselves against lawsuits
alleging that toxic chemicals
used in the companies' "clean room" operations may have caused cancer
and birth defects
. The semiconductor litigation may become "asbestos II" according to one lawyer involved in the suits.
The claims involve employees from as far back as the 1960s and blame the chemicals used in disk drive production for employees' ailments. Clean rooms were designed to protect computer components during the manufacturing process.
Lawsuits have been filed in New York and California and involve IBM and a number of the company's chemical suppliers. IBM strongly denies all allegations contained in the suits and claims that they are without merit. Other companies have settled
out of court.In June 2004, IBM settled 50 toxic chemical lawsuits filed by former employees of the company's San Jose Cottle Road disk drive manufacturing plant. Workers allege they were exposed to dangerous chemicals such as benzene, acetone and trichloroethylene between the 1960s and 1980s and suffered chemical poisoning as a result. Several employees suffering from cancer blame the disorder on their exposure to the toxic chemicals. In March 2004, IBM settled a $100 million birth-defects lawsuit filed by an employee of a semiconductor plant in New York. Terms of both settlements were not revealed.
See your doctor if you work in the semiconductor industry and have experienced serious health problems. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
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