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Excessive Cancer Deaths Found Among IBM Manufacturing Employees

Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 Calls on IBM to Take Action

Oct 23, 2006 | PRNewswire

A study by Dr. Richard Clapp an epidemiologist at Boston University School of Public health, and published in Environmental Health Journal has raised alarms with IBM employees and retirees. The study, called "Mortality among US employees of a large computer company: 1969-2001," specifically details cancers and mortality rates among IBM employees.

The study confirmed that overall and cancer related mortality is considerably higher among workers engaged in manufacturing computers and component parts when compared with the general population. While this was generally known, this study includes data from the largest database so far IBM's own "Corporate Mortality File." The data comes from 31,941 records about the deaths of people who had worked at IBM's plants for at least 5 years. The study is on the Alliance web site at http://www.allianceibm.org

Earl Mongeon, Alliance@IBM Vice President and a manufacturing worker at the IBM Burlington Vermont site, said: "This study confirms to those of us working in IBM manufacturing processes that the rumors and talk about high levels of cancers and other health problems from working with toxic substances wasn't just idle shop floor talk."

The Alliance@IBM, the advocate group for IBM employees, is calling on IBM and local, state and federal officials to take the following actions in response to this study:

  • Health surveillance of all who worked at IBM by the company and appropriate Health agencies.
  • Increase the use of non-toxic substances in all processes and reduce the use of harmful substances.
  • Employee exposure levels of toxic substances within IBM facilities be reduced significantly.
  • States and municipalities with computer manufacturing plants to compile cancer maps of areas around the facilities and areas where employees are likely to reside.  Results to be made public.
  • The setting up of a fund to help alleviate the medical costs of affected IBM employees and their families.

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