Why Are the Workers Getting Sick? Science, Law and Occupational Hazards in Taiwan's Electronics Industry

Why Are the Workers Getting Sick? Science, Law and Occupational Hazards in Taiwan's Electronics Industry

Sage Labs room 3510

September 25, 2013 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

During the decades of its operation in Taiwan, U.S.-based Radio Corporation of America (RCA) routinely dumped chlorinated organic solvents into the same aquifer that supplied its employees with drinking and bathing water. Many workers believe that their cancers and other grave illnesses are caused by chronic exposure to the toxic substances, claims the corporation hotly denies. A social movement composed of workers, activists, public-health professionals, lawyers, and members of the STS community has now succeeded in bringing the case to court. Prof. Hsin-Hsing Chen will discuss the scientific, legal and political dimensions of this controversy and its historic litigation.

Hsin-Hsing Chen is an associate professor at Shih-Hsin University Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies in Taipei, Taiwan. Long active in the student, environmental, and farmers-right movements in Taiwan, he earned a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prof. Chen has worked closely with labor activists since the late 1990s, with special focus on campaigns against Taiwanese-owned sweatshops abroad such as Foxconn. In recent years, his research interest has focused upon occupational disease and the use of theories of scientific causation within the judicial process.

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