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22 workers have contracted disease

Samsung Electronics and may other makers of memory and microchips around the world sometimes use chemicals and other materials in the construction of their products that are toxic and could be lethal to humans if exposed in large doses. Samsung has been battling allegations that some workers in its plants in China have contracted cancer from exposure into the work place.

Samsung has been under pressure by activist groups to take responsibility for the incidents of workers contracting leukemia or lymphoma. So far, 22 workers from the chip plants Samsung operates have been diagnosed with lymphoma or leukemia between 1998 and 2010. Ten of these workers have died because of the diseases so far. Samsung has long maintained that the chemicals it uses in the production of chips at the plants have not caused the cancers in workers.

Samsung Memory Division president Cho Soo-in said, "We are deeply sorry about the loss of loved ones... and we've actively cooperated on epidemiologic investigations, which concluded there were no leaks of radiation." He continued saying, "But I feel we should also have done this (communicated with the public) in the first place to stop speculation from growing."

The Korea Times reports that Samsung is working hard to reduce the suspicions that the workers contracted the diseases while working at Samsung's plants. In an effort to do this, the electronics giant is opening up some of its plants to reporters. These plants are usually closely guarded and only open to visiting politicians.

The latest Samsung worker to succumb to diseases believed to be contracted at the Samsung plant was 23-year-old Park Ji-yeon, who was a worker at the Samsung plant in Onyang in the North Chungcheong Province since 2004. She died from leukemia and used an x-ray machine to check chips produced at the plant. The process produced radiation which some believe caused her leukemia.

The Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency has stated that the relationship between working conditions and leukemia is unclear. The agency stated, "The chances of males getting leukemia or cancer was lower than average, while among females, the chances of dying from the disease were 1.48 times higher than normal, which could be considered insignificant."



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Cashing in?
By Earthmonger on 4/15/2010 11:48:49 AM , Rating: 4
22 people over the course of 12 years seems a rather ambiguous sum. How many tens of thousands of employees has Samsung used during these 12 years? Hmm. I'm suspicious. It may be just as likely that these 12 people either did, or are suffering the effects of long-term exposure to China's polluted environment, and looking to cash in on a corporate giant. Something's amiss.




RE: Cashing in?
By bigdawg1988 on 4/15/2010 12:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Where's the data? I'm no reporter, but this doesn't seem like a good news story to me, especially for a tech site. I hate to trash you guys like others have, but flesh this out or can it.


RE: Cashing in?
By ChristopherO on 4/15/2010 2:22:20 PM , Rating: 5
Sadly I currently am battling leukemia and have been since early last year. It's not fun... Even when you are in a first world country and have one of the best doctors anywhere for this disease.

The thing, leukemia is actually pretty rare... There are approximately 40,000 diagnosis annually in the United States. That works out to 1:7,500. The problem is that statistic is blended between acute and chronic. Acute cases are generally more critical these days as more drugs are around to "manage" chronic leukemia. You really, really don't want it, but your odds these days are better than ever.

Usually leukemia is an environmental cancer. Benzene is one of the definite links. It is also a secondary cancer -- chemotherapy from prior cancers can damage the immune system and eventually lead to leukemia. Radiation has also been linked. Actually, what amazes me is how fragile the immune system happens to be. Damaging it is far easier than most people would suspect. Granted there is also a history of cancer in my family, so I suspect genetically I'm more prone to mutation, and/or my immune system can't regulate them effectively (since one of its jobs is killing tumor cells).

Granted 22 cases of leukemia and lymphoma over 12 years, could be a lot or perfectly normal... Depending how many workers they have, and the general incidence rate in foreign countries. If they have 10,000 employees, that's one thing, but if they have 250, that's a whole other ball of wax.

In the US, rocketry and various aerospace industries used to be hit with leukemia. Granted that was awhile ago, and once the link to benzene was understood, many more precautions were taken handling various chemicals.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe there might be a problem at the plant. Even if it employs 10,000 people, not all of them are going to be in high-risk jobs working with radiation or suspect chemicals. A "big" number would sound like Samsung is hiding behind their total employee count. I'd like to know the number of "high risk" employees and how many of them were in the group of 22.


RE: Cashing in?
By porkpie on 4/16/2010 9:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
"Personally, I'm inclined to believe there might be a problem at the plant."

You've misread the article. It's not at "a plant", its at all the plants Samsung operates there.

The "personally I'm inclined to believe it" statement indicates what's wrong with many people's thought processes. The willingness to accept claims as fact without solid evidence is at the heart of most of society's problems.


RE: Cashing in?
By ChristopherO on 4/16/2010 12:28:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The willingness to accept claims as fact without solid evidence is at the heart of most of society's problems.

Which is total BS and you evidentially didn't read what I said... I would need to know *who* was diagnosed and *what* they did. Samsung could employ 40 million people, but if they all worked in shipping/logistics they aren't in a high risk career and thus should track with national averages.

If they employed 100 QC technicians who used radiation, and 22 of them had leukemia, that would be a different matter. Counting all the factory workers is a pointless excuse and using irrelevant numbers to mask an issue. The article is largely meaningless without this data. For example, as I mentioned before, benzene has a proven link to blood cancers. Statistically, if you come into contact with it, you're in a vastly higher risk category.

The willingness to give be companies a pass and let them outsource labor to countires with virtually no health and safety regulations... Well, that's part of the reason no major fabs are in the US. Chip foundries are some of the nastiest places, a veritable chemical supermarket, and we don't have them domestically in large part due to environmental regulations that make them non cost-competitive when compared to nations with lax environmental standards. Sure labor costs are cheaper abroad, but US environmental policy incurs cost well beyond other factors (for fabs).


RE: Cashing in?
By MGSsancho on 4/19/2010 12:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
This really comes down to, we the public need to see the data, they can with hold names if they like but data with out context means nothing. Sadly this information would be good to help out those suffering not just from the mentioned ailments. =(


RE: Cashing in?
By SAnderson on 4/16/2010 9:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
They probably have 50k+ workers at just their memory plants. Koreans(Samsung is a Korean company) aren't very efficient. They have meetings just to have meetings. No joke, I'm in the semi industry.

To know if Samsung is really at fault one would need to know if these cases all have similar symptoms, similar exposure, leukemia rate of other people in the area, etc. Poor article aimed at damaging Samsung.


RE: Cashing in?
By porkpie on 4/16/2010 10:13:22 AM , Rating: 2
"To know if Samsung is really at fault one would need to know if these cases all have similar symptoms, similar exposure, leukemia rate of other people in the area"

We need to know even more than that. Statistics is a tricky thing. If you tabulate incidence rates for **any** disease across a large enough population, you're going to see clusters where -- for no reason other than sheer randomness -- the rate jumps sharply. Most people don't realize this.

Even professionally done studies typically assume no more than the 5% confidence level. That means if you did 20 such independent studies (using 20 different data sets, of course), you'd expect one of them to turn up a false positive result.


RE: Cashing in?
By eddieroolz on 4/15/2010 2:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
My take is that Leukimia is a disease that develops very slowly, especially if it's a low but constant dose much like the x-ray machine.

For example, some of the survivors of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings died 20-odd years later from various forms of cancer, including Leukimia. If they survived the initial bombings, it was highly likely that they received significant dose of radiation but not quite enough to poison and kill within days.

So similarly, I think that 22 cases in a ~12 year span seems rather in line with everything else. Leukimia isn't a common illness to start with, either.

My $0.02.


RE: Cashing in?
By ChristopherO on 4/15/2010 2:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
Which would be nice if you were correct, but you're not...

Chronic leukemia can be something that you have over many years. Acute leukemia will be fatal within 3-6 months after onset if untreated. And by onset I mean, you start with *one* mutated cell out of billions of white cells, and 3-6 months later the cancerous lineage of that *one* cell can account for more than 90% of your immune system. Acute leukemia is one of the most fatal of treatable cancers.

Acute/Chronic depends purely on the type of mutation that occurs based on exposure. Just getting low dose radiation doesn't mean you end up with a chronic case -- you can have a spontaneous mutation to an acute case just as easily. The primary difference between the two types is the rate of cellular replication, acute is vastly faster. They also express different protein markers, etc, so it's functionally impossible to confuse one type for another.


Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/15/2010 3:36:08 PM , Rating: 1
I worked for Samsung in Suwon, Korea for three years, and I wouldn't put anything past those a$$holes.

Each floor of the Central R&D Institute has about three water coolers that are regularly stocked, which I thought was a good thing at first. However, the water has a very strong, strange taste to it. Drinking it caused my throat to swell up (I'm allergic to some chemicals found in pesticides and epoxy adhesives), so I stopped drinking company water and brought my own bottled water into work. I found out later from a senior manager in the HR department that they pump the water out from the ground below the Samsung Research Complex and put it directly into water cooler bottles ‘as is’ without any filtering or treatment. I finally saw the small shack they had set up with a spigot and 5-gallon bottles being filled up and loaded onto a flatbed truck for delivery one day while taking a walk around the company grounds.

I had another American friend who tolerated the water at first (everybody, Koreans and foreigners, typically make coffee or tea in order to mask the taste); however, he finally started to bring in bottled water after the taste became worse, which is hard to imagine as being possible.




RE: Around the Water Cooler
By smithonian on 4/18/2010 12:51:23 PM , Rating: 1
nstott....You are a total liar.
And it's sure that you have never been to South Korea.

Korea is one of the most water-abundant nations.
Almost all koreans get drinking water supplied by public utility. The price of water supplied by public utility is also the cheapest in the world. Water quality of public utility is also good enough to drink directly. So some government agencies keep on advocating that people should drink water directly. But very few people drink water directly. Almost all people use water purifiers, boiling of water or bottled waters.

nstott...What You insisted is totally a bull shit because in Korea, people can never imagine that one of the biggest company Samsung provides water from ground to employees in Korea where almost all people get purified water.

Additional Info : The number of Samsung Electronics employees in Korea is 83,558 as of June 2009, the number obtained from Samsung web site.


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/20/2010 12:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
??? ????, ?????!

To give you some more background: I've lived in Korea for a total of five-and-a-half years, started learning to speak Korean back in 1992 and scored at the highest level in an official national speaking exam (which I admit is ridiculous given my deficiencies and that I speak with a slight Cheon-la-do accent and dialect), and am married to a Korean woman.

You are engaging in what is known as a straw man argument. I never made any claims against the information you provided. Yes, Korea has an abundance of water. However, they also have a big pollution problem, although it is much, much better than it was during the 90s when I first lived there and they are cleaning things up. During the 90s, people had to boil water from the tap. Now, out of both habit and due to the taste, those who still consume water out of the tap still boil it with barley to cover the taste and ensure that it is potable or, as you stated, use a reverse osmosis water purifier.

Yes, most could never imagine that the biggest company in Korea would provide its employees water out of the ground, yet I tasted the water, saw the shack where they were filling up 20-L water cooler bottles without filtration and loading them onto trucks for distribution, and heard what I relayed here directly from a Samsung HR senior manager before I even saw the shack. I never would have believed it myself before joining Samsung. However, they save a lot of money doing this, and that's what they care about until somebody finds out and they have to do something different and engage in a PR campaign.

Fortunately, the small stores they have at Samsung sell bottled water. I typically bought a 6-pack of 2-L bottles from GS Mart or E-Mart and brought one into work every morning.


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/20/2010 12:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
A few more things: All doctors in Korea tell patients to avoid washing wounds from accidents or after minor surgery because the water out of the tap is not chlorinated enough (if at all) to prevent bacterial infection. The water out of the tap has the slight taste of dirt to it and no taste of chlorine. The water out of the Samsung coolers had a very strong earthy taste to it with some other odd chemical aftertaste.


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By smithonian on 4/20/2010 7:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
nstott....As you know, you are a very severely mentally deranged person.

What you have written from start to the end is total lies.


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/21/2010 9:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
Here are my creds (third from the bottom with my user name), K-tard smithonian, so take your ad hominem arguments and shove them:

http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/nanocluster/people.ht...

If I'm "very severely mentally deranged," then what does that make an intellectual inferior like you? (If you’re wondering, that was an “appeal to authority,” but you were asking for it.) ^^


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By smithonian on 4/20/2010 7:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Wow...nstott...Your lying is getting bigger and bigger.

quote:
Fortunately, the small stores they have at Samsung sell bottled water. I typically bought a 6-pack of 2-L bottles from GS Mart or E-Mart and brought one into work every morning.

GS mart and E-mart are a chain of large, discount department stores like Wal-Mart. They are not small stores. They are very big stores.
From your statements, people can guess that you insist that you lived in South Korea back in 1990s.
But first store named "GS mart" appeared in 2005.
Samsung doesn't have those stores.
Opening time of GS mart and E-mart is 10:00 hour.


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/21/2010 11:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Dear smithonian without a second 's,'

Wow! Your "Englishee" comprehension really sucks! Call me up, and I'll explain it to you in Korean (mushikhan baboseggiya!)

Samsung has small stores within the company complex where employees can purchase bottled water, HOWEVER , I bought my water ahead of time at GS Mart or E-Mart over the weekend because it costs less. (smithonian: "nstott is stupid riar. He say 6-pack water from mart store cost ress than one bottle at small store. Hahahahaha!" Oh yeah, costs less on a per bottle basis. I'll try to be more precise in my speaking. Anyway...) I never said that the mart stores were small or that they were located within Samsung. If you knew how to read plain English, you would have seen where I wrote, “I typically bought a 6-pack of 2-L bottles from GS Mart or E-Mart and brought one into work every morning .” (emphasis added) Obviously, I did not purchase my water at Samsung if I *BROUGHT* it into work in the morning.

Next, you will notice from my posts that I said, “I've lived in Korea for a total of five-and-a-half years,” (emphasis added) but I never said that it was consecutive . In fact, adding the word “total” implies that it was NOT consecutive. If you understood “Englishee” well, you would have caught the nuance. Your interpretation of my words is false and nonsensical, and it would be too tedious for me to write in the detail necessary to explain every word at your kindergarten-level of “Englishee.”

If it helps, I lived in Korea from August 1992 to December 1994 the first time doing service activities; such as caring for disabled and orphaned children who were abandoned by parents too socially ashamed to raise them, teaching English, and cleaning up polluted areas. I was unpaid and lived off money I saved up before going to Korea. I moved around; living in Seoul, Goyang, Dongducheon, Weonju, and Samcheok for months at a time. Then, I lived in Korea a second time while working at the Samsung Digital Complex in Suwon from August 2006 to August 2009. Do I also need to include all of the visits to Korea between December 1994 and August 2006 and subtract out visits back to the US? How much trifling do you want to do?

So, now we can see that what I wrote makes perfect sense and that you need to go back and spend more time studying for the TOEFL. If you want to be a little K-troll, might I suggest that you go do it here:

http://www.occidentalism.org/


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By smithonian on 4/21/2010 1:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
Wow...nstott...You are Evil itself!!
Your lying is getting bigger and bigger and bigger...

quote:
smithonian: "nstott is stupid riar. He say 6-pack water from mart store cost ress than one bottle at small store. Hahahahaha!"

I have never said that !!
It's perfectly sure that You are a totally mentally deranged person.

quote:
The water out of the tap has the slight taste of dirt to it and no taste of chlorine.

Although Korean goverment keeps on saying that "people can drink water out of the tab directly with safety", but Korean people doesn't drink directly only for the reason of very few taste of chlorine.

quote:

yet I tasted the water, saw the shack where they were filling up 20-L water cooler bottles without filtration and loading them onto trucks for distribution, and heard what I relayed here directly from a Samsung HR senior manager before I even saw the shack. I never would have believed it myself before joining Samsung. However, they save a lot of money doing this. .

As I said before, Korea is one of the cheapest nations in water price of public utility. Because of the high diesel price in Korea, it would take much much more money if Samsung uses trucks to distribute water.
So you prove yourself that you are a total liar.

Anyway, by and large what you said are all the lies.
Finally, I wanna say to you this.
"nstott...jotkatten saekkiya....Where did you learn Korean language?"


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/21/2010 6:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wow...nstott...You are Evil itself!!

Just because you say it, doesn't make it so.

quote:
I have never said that !!

I was mocking you, you humorless K-tool. It was an obvious joke of what I imagined you might say based on your other misinformed statements.

quote:
It's perfectly sure that You are a totally mentally deranged person.

Koreans are so cute when they get angry.

quote:
As I said before, Korea is one of the cheapest nations in water price of public utility. Because of the high diesel price in Korea, it would take much much more money if Samsung uses trucks to distribute water.

Once again with your 'Englishee' comprehension problems. The water spigot is located within Samsung, and small flatbed trucks are used to deliver the water to buildings within the complex. That is not the same as paying large fuel costs from shipping long distances by tractor trailer. Even so, it wouldn't be the first of many stupid, illogical things I saw while in Korea. I suppose they could have had water transported by jigae to both save money and promote exercise. ^^

http://www.lifeinkorea.com/Images/tools/kimch128.j...

quote:
So you proob yourserp that you are totar riar.

Are you 'ronery,' too? Hahahahaha! ^^

quote:
Anyway, by and large what you said are all the lies.

...according to your extremely limited comprehension of the English language.

quote:
Finally, I wanna say to you this. "nstott...jotkatten saekkiya....

Yeah, but most people are the "offspring of a penis." ^^

I hear that when the Japanese invaded Korea, your great-grandmother was the first to swim out to their ships and welcome them, jjokbbal jashika!

quote:
Where did you learn Korean language?

I already told you where, but the real question is, "Why did I even bother to learn the Korean language?"


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By smithonian on 4/21/2010 9:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
nstott...You fool

From your comment, you have revealed your identity.
Your real identity is a Japanese.
F***** Japs.
Everybody hates Japanese !!
cause they are very very short in every part of physical body.

Everybody in the world knows what Japanese are doing in Internet.
From the beginnng of the Internet birth Japanese tried to control the world by writing so many Internet comments.
There is a famous Japanese proverb that Keeping on lying can make a lie to become a truth.
That's why Japanese always tried to keep lying on and on and on.
All the things the Japanese want are just to control the Earth and finally get monetary gain by keeping on writing false information.

nstott...
In Korea, Nobody in the city gets drinking water out of ground.

I wanna give you my regard "jjokbary ssekkiya...nurna jotka"..^^


RE: Around the Water Cooler
By nstott on 4/22/2010 9:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's getting old, cm. Move along, goat boy, and go find some more soju to imbibe. Maybe you can pump some out of the ground. ^^


what we really need, even here
By kattanna on 4/15/2010 12:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
chemicals and other materials in the construction of their products that are toxic and could be lethal to humans if exposed in large doses


while we have a pretty good idea what doses of a chemical can produce harm in the short term, what we dont really know is how over long term, what can small doses do? Also small dose interactions with other chemicals.




RE: what we really need, even here
By porkpie on 4/16/2010 9:10:16 AM , Rating: 5
This is the usual, anti-science fearmongering from people who apparently don't realize that everything they eat, drink and touch in normal life is made of nothing but "doses of chemicals".

There are over 1,000 chemicals in a cup of coffee alone...most of which have NEVER been tested for long-term effects on the human body.


RE: what we really need, even here
By kattanna on 4/19/2010 10:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
anti-science fearmongering


LOL you crack me up. maybe you should actually read some of my posts before trying to label me with that.


You can't 'contract' cancer
By MrDiSante on 4/15/2010 11:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
You can only 'contract' communicable diseases (e.g. bacterial, viral, fungal).




RE: You can't 'contract' cancer
By darkweasel on 4/15/2010 12:59:56 PM , Rating: 5
Some cancers are spread by communicable vectors (e.g. bacterial, viral)


Of course...
By xler8r on 4/15/2010 1:18:25 PM , Rating: 4
Of course this cant be linked to China's fantastic air quality....




Workers probably haven't a clue.
By DoeBoy on 4/15/2010 2:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
The workers probably aren't even trained properly in how to deal with toxic chemicals. More often than not they are probably ignorant of the fact that they are as toxic as they are. That's what happens when you use uneducated workers not to mention these people could just as well be drinking the water from the tap in the plant and it could be contaminated or maybe they smoke cigarettes after handling this stuff and dont bother to wash their hands off at all. Lots of things could be happening.. all I know is they all relate to simple safety training and equipment.




X-ray machines
By kmmatney on 4/15/2010 4:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
She died from leukemia and used an x-ray machine to check chips produced at the plant. The process produced radiation which some believe caused her leukemia.


I have worked with X-ray machines used in Fabs (and universities) for 18 years, and if the machines are used properly (which they will be at a Samsung plant) then they are perfectly safe. The chemicals they use elsewhere are far more dangerous.




Oh, please...
By TechIsGr8 on 4/16/2010 12:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
this is the reason our great CEOs went to China in the first place, to avoid all that pesky EPA socialism crap. Just consider it collateral damage, and move along...




It's China
By brokenaxiom on 4/16/2010 5:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
Complaining that a Chinese factory has unsafe working conditions is like complaining that barebacking a five dollar hooker got you gonorrhea.




Women
By FaceMaster on 4/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Women
By yomamafor1 on 4/15/2010 11:43:47 AM , Rating: 5
Giving birth to an idiot like you?


RE: Women
By FaceMaster on 4/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Women
By Camikazi on 4/15/2010 12:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
And that would be a good thing they did? :P


RE: Women
By bigdawg1988 on 4/15/2010 11:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
Boy, you just ain't right!


RE: Women
By lainofthewired on 4/15/2010 11:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
I speeeeet in your general direction!


RE: Women
By chenjf on 4/15/2010 4:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Easy one. Saying no to you.


RE: Women
By FITCamaro on 4/15/2010 10:55:19 PM , Rating: 1
Hopefully refused to reproduce with you.


RE: Women
By FaceMaster on 4/16/2010 5:43:26 AM , Rating: 1
Daily Tech, I have one thing to say to you.

What have the Romans ever done for us?


RE: Women
By nstott on 4/21/2010 11:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
You could have included "sarcasm tags," but then we would have b!tched that you included "sarcasm tags!" :P


RE: Women
By FaceMaster on 4/25/2010 12:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
/sarcasm at the end of a post is a sign of weakness from people who are afraid of the forum they're posting on. A bit like starting with 'no offense but...' before slagging something off.


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