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Lawsuit Blames Motorola for Clean Room Birth Defects

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Former workers at Motorola are suing the company, blaming toxic substances used to make semiconductors and other electronics parts for serious birth defects since the 1960s.

What’s the problem?

July 26, 2010 – According to the the Chicago Sun-Times, 71 plaintiffs recently filed a lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois alleging that Motorola knew that chemicals used in sterile ‘clean rooms’ had the potential to cause birth defects in children born to people exposed to the compounds.

Thirty children of former employees allegedly suffer from physical and developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, sterility and brain malformations, the suit claims. Parents of the affected children worked at various Motorola facilities between 1965 and 2007. Company policies allegedly failed to provide protective gear to workers in the clean rooms where the dangerous substances ended up in the recirculating air.

The lawsuit says Motorola knew or should have known about the potential hazards, citing a 1986 study by IBM and Johns Hopkins University showing workplace exposure to the chemicals, solvents, metals and other compounds could cause serious reproductive harm. The four-count suit claims negligence, abnormally dangerous and ultra-hazardous activity, willful and wanton conduct and loss of consortium. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

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