Personal Injuries and Wrongful Deaths Caused by Chemicals in IBM Factories
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Personal Injuries and Wrongful Deaths Caused by Chemicals in IBM Factories

Saturday, November 07, 1998By Richard Alexander

When the legal care of our clients requires taking on the world’s largest corporations, that is what we do and we are proud to have funded a major contribution to medical research that has advanced scientific knowledge of the hazards of toxic solvent exposures in electronics industry.During our work for employees of IBM we discovered a high number of  personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by cancer, leukemia and bone tumors. Others workers suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The cancer-causing chemicals they were exposed to included photoresists, epoxy resin, methylene chloride, Freon and other solvents used in the manufacturing of electronic components.

We funded an in-depth scientific investigation by award-winning epidemiologist Dr. Richard Clapp of Boston University. We provided Dr. Clapp with IBM's Corporate Mortality File, over 10,000 death certificates, the personnel records of employees working in IBM's San Jose manufacturing facilities and the financial support to conduct a detailed study.

Dr. Clapp's findings revealed what we suspected: the cases of cancer among former IBM workers were significantly higher. Click here to read the findings for yourself.

IBM sought to block Clapp's findings from being published. The company sent Clapp a warning not to publish the study. And then, while under the brunt of this pressure, the journal Clinics in Environmental Medicine rejected Clapp's study for publication. Eventually the Environmental Health (www.ehjournal.net) recognized the immense scientific value of Dr. Clapp's research and published his article in October 2006.

Meanwhile IBM spin-doctors implemented damage control. They were quoted as saying that the findings "aren't credible" and that the corporate morality file was an "incomplete human resources database that IBM used years ago in conjunction with providing benefits to beneficiaries of deceased IBM employees." IBM did not mention that other researchers who had conducted a study of brain cancers funded by IBM had relied upon the Corporate Mortality File. A convenient omission. It was that brain cancer research that led us to demand IBM produce its complete collection of death certificates.

Dr. Clapp's study shows that electronics industry workers suffered a much higher rate of cancer, a rate that was greater than expected.

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