why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 19

Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work. Occupational Disease in the US Semiconductor industry as case-in-point Amanda Hawes JD Alexander, Hawes & Audet Worksafe Nov. 2006 .

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work' - sherry

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work
Why we must put the precautionary principles to work at work

Occupational Disease in the US Semiconductor industry as case-in-point

Amanda Hawes JD

Alexander, Hawes & Audet


Nov. 2006

Workplace PELS for carcinogens and developmental toxics are much weaker than environmental standards.

like ‘limits’ of 25,000 mph when it takes 25 mph limits to prevent death and disability:


What’s missing from this picture?

Some mainstays of semiconductor fabrication and electronics assembly:

Glycol ethers

Chlorinated HC solvents

Aromatic HC solvents


arsenic, cadmium, chromium and nickel compounds


Campaign to Ban TCE (Cal-OSHA lowers PEL from 100 to 25 ppm.)

  • NIOSH HHE finds narcotic and irritant symptoms in clean room environment; all solvent exposures below PELs.
  • HESIS repro alert on glycol ethers
  • Cal- OSHA semiconductor study does not investigate reproductive and cancer hazards
  • 1985 Media charge chip makers with keeping two sets of records for toxic exposures and systematically underreporting # of affected workers.
20 years ago
20 years ago…

First report of elevated miscarriage and malaise rates in clean rooms

First call for replacement of ethylene glycol ethers: “Campaign to end the Miscarriage of Justice”

Microelectronics Industry monograph alerts scientific and medical community to clean industry cancer risk

IBM workers ask about cancer in clean rooms. IBM says ‘no problem’

1999 2006 7 year saga as cancer data mount
1999-2006:7-Year Saga as cancer data mount

Claiming both ‘confidentiality’ and ‘junk science’ IBM resists workers’ efforts to:

access the IBM Corporate Mortality File (maintained for 30+ years)

present Richard Clapp’s independent analysis of the CMF in a lawsuit involving NHL and breast cancer @ IBM San Jose

ensure publication of Clapp’s findings in the peer reviewed literature.

cancer at big blue
Cancer at Big Blue

Though Clapp’s cancer findings were excluded from the IBM workers’ cancer trial--which the 2 workers then lost--Clapp’s analysis finally appears in the peer-reviewed literature October 2006.

IBM didn’t want the story out because why?

alliance @ ibm demands

* Health surveillance of all IBM workers

* reduce exposures to toxic substances NOWas part of transition to

* non-toxic substances in all processes

* States compile and publish cancer maps of areas around computer manufacturing plants where employees are likely to reside.

* fund to alleviate medical burden on affected IBM employees and their families.

clean rooms and miscarriage
Clean rooms and miscarriage

“ new concerns … may prove a potential black eye for a high technology industry that … sought to portray itself as clean and with little impact on the environment.

Women exposed to certain chemicals … in the nation’s semiconductor factories face a significantly higher risk of miscarriage, a broad industry-financed study has found. The study is the 3rd in 4 years to find that … glycol ethers have toxic effects. “

New York Times Oct 12 and Dec. 4, 1992

clean rooms and birth defects
Clean Rooms and Birth Defects

Andrea was born with hydrocephaly and agenesis of the corpus callosum.

At conception and during her gestation her dad’s estimated 8 hr TWA exposures in the IBM clean rooms included:

ethylene glycol ethers 5.1 ppm

xylene 0.48 ppm

n-butyl acetate .44 ppm

And she wasn’t the only “clean room” baby born with problems.

clean rooms and dirty secrets
Clean rooms and dirty secrets

Major malformations typically occur in 1-2% of US live births; 5-10% are CNS malformations. Thus, in 1000 live births 1-2 CNS malformations and under .5 hydrocephaly cases expected.

From 1980-89 <1000 children were born to clean room workers at 2 IBM sites with high miscarriage rates. At least three were born with hydrocephaly. Other CNS defects found in the group include spina bifida and microcephaly

when you re pregnant every day is bring your child to work day
When you’re pregnant, every day is bring -your child -to -work day

“Charlotte” is a developmentally disabled young adult with normal chromosomes.

She has microcephaly, longbone anomalies, and needs a tracheal tube to breathe. Her condition matches no recongized genetic syndrome.

Mom’s estimated 8-hr TWA exposures at work included:

lead: 0.0267 mg/m3 (PEL = 0.05 mg/m3),

chromium VI: 0.023 mg/m3 (PEL = 0.5 mg/m3.)


Born in 1986, “Jeff” has had several jaw surgeries, uses a trach, and is blind.

His mom was exposed to low ppm levels of ethylene glycol ethers and other standard clean room chemicals.

Warnings on reproductive effects from ethylene glycol ethers from the late 1970s and early 1980’s noted health effects in animals exposed below then-PELs.

treatment costs

The Cost of Birth Defects calculates $8 billion for lifetime care for children born in the US with major birth defects in a single year.

  • * Waitzman (1992)

Practice precaution:

close the gap

68 chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm are unregulated by Cal-OSHA or regulated only for non-cancer effects.

AB 815 would help close the PEL gap by directing Cal-OSHA to use the State’s environmental risk assessment data in setting workplace standards.

25 states are OSHA “state plan” states with full authority to pursue Close the Gap remedies comparable to AB 815

combat disinformation
Combat disinformation:

Challenge hazard communications that imply that PEL compliance ensures against cancer and reproductive harm

Challenge attempts to obscure sound scientific evidence that chemically-exposed workers suffer disproportionately from cancer and chronic disease

Workers have the right to know that current PELS don’t protect in a mixed chemical environment…and that occupational PELs are much weaker than environmental PELs

health protection is the best investment
Health protection is the best investment

Environmental control costs more when workplace emissions are out-of-control

Having to invest in engineering controls to meet a PEL creates an economic incentive to switch to a safe alternative

Legal remedies are often too little too late. “No fault” workers compensation systems provide no real incentives to improve working conditions that lead to serious worker illness and death.

The Cost of NOT protecting workers is huge:

In California alone every 23 minutes another California worker is disabled by chemical exposure; another 18 workers die each day as a result of occupational chemical exposures. (UC’s Green Chemistry report )


Without health-protective PELS as well, better haz com, green chemistry campaigns, and the threat of after-the-fact liability are just not enough to prevent toxic harm to workers and their offspring in the first place.