Toxic Chemical Exposure & Birth Defects – Video Transcript
Toxic Chemical Exposure & Birth Defects – IBM – Video Transcript
Below is the transcript of the original YouTube video – https://youtu.be/PPFgVbUaOfg
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Upstate New York – a place of pastoral beauty framed by the Hudson river and lush rolling hills. Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill are neighborhoods steeped in family values. Trust, loyalty and respect have been the cornerstones of these communities for generations. As the region’s premier employer IBM promotes and portrays itself as the family patriarch, the provider and protector. The truth is that IBM knowingly poisoned its employees and their families for more than 40 years. Ronald Murray Sr. worked for IBM for nearly 25 years and suffered devastating losses. Don’t they have any concern for human life? What about my babies, what about those other people’s babies? What are we, just the numbers game to them? This is not right. This should not be allowed to happen. I have two children in the ground and I have a son who’s 28 years old diagnosed with testicular cancer. I have a daughter who is still battling some problems that are unknown, and yet my wife and I are diagnosed healthy. There is something else that’s caused this. IBM manufactures micro electronic chips used in computers, cell phones and other state-of-the-art technology. Glycol ethers, xylene and butyl acetate and trihydroxybenzophonone are part of the toxic chemical soup used to produce photo resist. It’s this rust-colored material added to these wafers in IBM clean rooms. IBM ensures that these rooms are dust-free sterile environments to protect their product and profits, but the bunny suits workers must wear don’t protect them. Noxious fumes, poor ventilation, faulty alarms and malfunctioning monitoring systems are the norm, say former employees. The wafers to come out on this little track and the resists were coming, I mean, it would just like just spin all around stuff and photo resist was everywhere: it was on the floor, it was on the walls, it was everywhere, and they would actually have to clean this stuff up. The exhausts on the machines were pretty much awful, they really were. We were running away for tracks and if the exhaust was too high, basically we would shut the machine down. So they kept turning the machine lower, and lower, and lower, and basically it was like, people walked by making comments: how can you work with situations like that? I’d sit at that screening machine and I could smell the perchlore. You could smell it and you’d wait for the lights to go on because we had lights at that time, and the lights would finally come on and we’d leave, and they tell us to come back in and I’d say, oh but the lights, the lights are still on, you know. Well, the maintenance is going to reset them in a little while, they just have to reset them. I remember the alarms going off in there and I was telling the man I can’t breathe. And he said, oh no, stay here because it’s under OSHA’s guidelines, it’s okay. I said, yes but I can’t breathe. They built our building in a valley and the rest of the East Fishkill site was around it, so they were venting chemicals in all of these different manufacturing areas into the atmosphere, which was coming down and coming into our clean air intake. That air is just blowing by you anyway, so even though they’re telling you don’t breathe, the few things and get it on you and everything you still got to stand there feeding, opening the machines, putting this stuff in and everything. Union Carbide sold Cellosolve and Methyl Cellosolve to IBM and Hoechst. Hoechst made photo resist, 80 percent of which is Cellosolve. Union Carbide’s label warned that the Cellosolve is harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin and advised that in laboratory animals birth defects and adverse effects on pregnancy have been observed. And that prolonged and repeated exposure has caused damage to male reproductive organs. IBM intentionally kept this label information from its employees by doling out chemicals in unmarked containers. Christopher Daily, a 20-year IBM-er whose twin daughters have a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa describes his workplace: there was a like a tap room, a lot of beer taps it looked like, and there were probably about 18 or 20 different solvents. They would came from a bulk tank and you’d fill one gallon cans or 55 gallon drums. The guy that was training me at the time said, yeah, you just fill them up and it would run all over, just make sure they’re full, they have to be full. And you know, naturally, well, what’s this stuff do to you? That’s not bad, but mostly it’s just dries out your skin so you ought to wear gloves. Under federal and state regulations, IBM is legally, morally and ethically responsible for clearly posting a detailed MSDS material safety data sheet for each chemical in use. Again IBM intentionally failed to provide its employees with this vital information. The Hoechst MSDS for photoresist warns of inhalation and dermal exposure hazards. It also recommends using a self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing, including goggles or full face shield and gloves. Under the heading of toxicity this MSDS warns that photo resist cause birth defects, increase fetal death, delayed fetal development, blood effects, testicular damage and male infertility in studies with laboratory animals. While you were working at IBM there had been a chemical precaution sheet indicating that you could, a male could suffer testicular cancer, would you have worked there? bsolutely not, not for all the money in the world. IBM soft pedaled the dangers by posting this chemical precaution sheet for Cellosolve. IBM hid the chemical hazards and risks from its employees in obscure language. Under toxic effects only kidney damage was listed. It also noted that glycol ethers and their acetates are considered a suspect reproductive hazard and that according to NIOSH, Cellosolve acetate causes teratogenic effects when inhaled by rats at levels as low as 130 parts per million. As defined by Maloney’s medical dictionary, a teratogen is any environmental or chemical agent that causes abnormal development of the fetus. In layman’s terms, a chemical that causes birth defects. Sherry Desser worked in IBM clean rooms while pregnant and was devastated when her daughter was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Were you ever aware of any reproductive hazards? No. Did you ever sign a form or release indicating that they had talked to you and given you the overview of the chemicals and the potential hazards? No, I never signed anything. Dr. Barry Levy is an internationally recognized authority in the field of occupational medicine and epidemiology. He is an adjunct professor of occupational medicine at Tufts University and has authored many publications in the field, including this leading text on occupational health. For 15 years Dr. Levy has written and advised about occupational health issues in the semiconductor industry. There was great concern about the glycol ethers especially in light of the animal birth defect studies. The warnings coming from Union Carbide and Dow, as well as governmental concerns from OSHA and NIOSH it was not only a question of ethylene-based glycol ethers posing a risk to reproductive health. These glycol ethers were being mixed in the workroom air with dozens of other chemicals that were also reproductive toxicants and teratogenic threats. It was of great concern because the potential impacts on workers and their offspring of being exposed to these mixtures were never studied before the workers were thrust into these environments. IBM and the semiconductor industry were not concerned with worker safety or exposure risks when they set the threshold limit values (TLVs) for their chemicals. Those TLVs for workplace chemicals were not set with birth defects, cancer or other latent effects in mind, nor were they tested to assure that they would be protective against these effects. IBM, Hoechst and Union Carbide placed thousands of lives at risk. They chose to remain silent about chemical hazards while publicly pretending that safety was paramount. In April of 1982 IBM chairman of the board J.R. Opel issued this formal corporate policy statement: IBM is committed to provide a safe workplace for our employees and safe products for our customers. There can be no compromise with safety. Managers must take positive actions to avoid or correct potential health and safety hazards. These employees, former employees, and their families say that IBM talked the talk but failed to walk the walk. Each has paid the ultimate price for IBM’s silence and inaction. Miscarriages, birth defects, cancer and death. I didn’t know anything about chemicals, I didn’t know the safety issues of these chemicals, I was told to put a hard hat on and work boots with, you know, the metal work plate in this shoe – that was my safety equipment and that’s what I went into these buildings with. I got very sick. I left my job after I miscarried my child. I was carrying twins at the time. They used to put us in these green chemical uniforms and when we get done spraying, and we used to have to put the things in and out of the tanks, we go into the locker room, you know, to change into our regular clothes, and we’d be laughing at each other. Now you people could laugh if you want – our underwear had all holes in them where the acid went through these uniforms. I think they had a broken pipe underground because years ago all the piping they used had to be underground – electrical and sewage and chemical, everything was under the ground. So did they have leaks? Of course that’s why we used to go out there, dig it out and locate the leaks. And they had to fix it. This one particular pipe that I cut apart was full of sulfuric acid and luckily it was in a concrete trench and the concrete started to smoke, but IBM’s coordinator in charge of that job assured my foreman that this pipe was completely empty and there was nothing in it. But that was not the truth. We had a standing joke on MLC that everybody, when we’d go to the coffee machine, was ingesting perchlore ethylene in the water on the site. Because there was a time there, when on the other side of building 332 they brought people in robotic contamination white suits and the whole gear, and were digging in the ground. So apparently, there was contamination in the ground, coming into the buildings, and we were probably drinking it in the water. They promised me, they promised all of us that we would be safe. I’ve heard numerous times today about OSHA standards, way below OSHA standards. I mean, where do they get off poisoning us, killing us. IBM defrauded its workers of integral health and safety information at least five times between April and November of 1982. In this internal memo IBM San Jose toxicologist Dr. Ann Burrell warns that this class of compounds are a reproductive hazard. They have been shown to cause death and birth defects in pregnant females and testicular atrophy and sterility in exposed males. Effects are observed at levels well below those which cause maternal toxicity. In light of this data it is expected that the current TLVs for these compounds will be re-evaluated and reduced. Regrettably, for years on end the TLVs were never revised and workers remained exposed and at great risk. I gave birth to my son who had a tumor behind his eye. It’s called retinoblastoma. I haven’t brought this out in the past but I’m a pretty big guy and after working in that I find that on the weekends primarily I end up spending my weekends in bed because of my midsection problems. I have a hard time walking and, you know, but I keep doing it because I have to, for my boy and my wife. February of 1999 I had to have a hysterectomy because I developed fibroid tumors. IBM continued to withhold information from its employees. This corporate instruction from June 1982 stated that chronic effects caused by genotoxic chemicals are particularly important because of the potential severity of the effect and of the long latent period between chemical exposure and recognition of the effect. Every effort must be made to substitute less hazardous materials in the manufacturing or development process. I remember being tested wearing a little tube apparatus and they were testing for limits of, I believe it was some of the solvents we were working with. Threshold limits? Yeah, yeah. Did they ever tell you the results of the data? I don’t recall ever getting them other than hearing: yeah, we’re fine, we’re okay, we’re well within the limits. Prior to becoming pregnant with her son Faye Calton asked an East Fishkill senior physician about her chemical exposure and its effect on her unborn child. In a subsequent memo Dr. Glenn Hoy explained his concerns. We checked the ECHOS system for exposures and compared it with the list of chemicals she provided us. We discovered a discrepancy in two reports in as much as she reported working with a compound containing Cellosolve. Subsequently, we have queried a number of managers about chemicals in their workplace and found similar discrepancies. I’m not sure how current the ECHOS information is. The discrepancies are troublesome. ECHOS was IBM’s supposed non-functional chemical monitoring system, and the discrepancies that were discovered by Dr. Hoy were too little too late for Faye and her unborn child. If that would have been shown then I would have not worked in that environment. I mean, I didn’t pump gas when I was pregnant. I have a child who is blind, who’s got a tracheostomy because he can’t breathe, who goes through all this cranial facial surgery. I don’t want that for my son and I would not, I would have easily left IBM if I knew that this was going to happen. I was exposed to the chemical and because, I turned out to be different. Zachary Roughing is brutally honest, IBM was not – the ramifications of which become crystal clear with 2020 hindsight. Victor Nussbaum, the head of IBM’s corporate industrial hygiene department, summed up the atrocities in November of 1982. It seems to me that the genotoxin instruction might be called a leading-edge document, even ahead of its time. We have created a guideline for which we are ill-prepared to assess its applicability. In 1983 NIOSH gave computer companies this warning about glycol ethers recommending that they be regarded as having the potential to cause adverse reproductive effects and urged employers to give this information to their workers. But IBM never informed its workforce. I just find it so hard to comprehend how IBM can do what they did just to make money and not care about us. We were basically guinea pigs, that’s it in a nutshell, it’s just like when they do tests on rats and mice. They knew what they were doing. We were the same thing, we were guinea pigs, and they didn’t care. And now there’s poor people out there that are suffering for the rest of their lives. You see frogs in nature that are exposed to chemicals start being born with things wrong with them. There’s whole, I can’t remember where, the studies were and if we can see that and recognize that and everybody says, oh that’s chemicals, why is it, why can’t we make the leap to humans? You know that there’s exposure and bad things happen. I hate them. I think it’s the most incredible moral lapse. I don’t know how they could put people through that knowing that something was dangerous and still exposing them to it. I don’t know how they sleep at night. All my life I’ve read about the holocaust and because, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m reading about it because I’m trying to wrap my mind around it. I can’t understand that kind of indifference to human life and I feel like that’s what IBM… They, I mean, I hate to compare them to Nazis, but I do feel that they have this same sort of indifference. Deliberate, calculated, callous betrayal of the human being. IBM is guilty of human rights violations and human experimentation. Under the guise of safety and protection IBM routinely, quote: tested and immunized its employees by placing Cellosolve-laced patches on their bodies. The first patch was my upper left shoulder, was back in here, that came back positive. Positive for what? I don’t know positive for what. They said, well you developed a little rash under there, okay? So we want to check you again. Is that all right? We want to ensure you that you’re protected. The patch was supposed to detect something in my body. And do you know what that something was? No I do not, no I do not. I was never told. Did you believe the line, the company mantra, if you will, about safety is the most important thing at IBM? Yes, I did believe, I did believe. You feel betrayed? I feel betrayed. I feel used, I have children that are buried in the ground. Yes, I feel betrayed. They started doing tests on our liver functions and I came up with a very high result. And they said, well, it’s, you know, it must be you. Finally, one of my tests came back and I asked one of the IBM doctors to see me about it, and he refused to see me. And I went to my manager at the time and the next day I was working different department. So there were people there that were concerned, but the people that should have been concerned, weren’t. I went down to the medical department and I blamed them outright, blamed them for my disease. And they told me, oh, we have a lot of people in here with these kind of diseases. And I said, yes, but isn’t that a light that if there’s a lot of people in here with this kind of disease that’s it’s coming from somewhere? IBM’s abuse of its workforce violates New York state public health law, which states that every human being has the right to be protected against the possible conduct of medical or psychological research upon his body without his voluntary consent. Human research may affect dangerous and unanticipated results causing irreversible damage to the human subject. I think they knew about these chemicals they didn’t want to tell people, because they figured, people would be scared and, you know, the whole thing with them was: look, we got to get the product out to the customer, the quickest we get it there. It was all about money. IBM spent millions of dollars engineering its clean rooms to eliminate dust. Its motivation is simple: dust ruined the product. Yet for years the technology giant did no monitoring of vapor levels in its facilities and not one penny was spent to eliminate chemical gases. Inexpensive HEPA and charcoal filters would have greatly reduced the toxic fumes and saved lives. Again, IBM failed to act. It’s clear that Union Carbide, Hoescht, and IBM knew about the hazards of glycol ethers as early as 1982. In fact, by 1984 Hoescht had developed and marketed a safer propylene-based solvent to replace Cellosolve. The az1500 series patent states that this component demonstrates lower toxicity over other solvents useful for forming photoresist. IBM chose not to use the safer solvent despite its corporate policy directive to take positive actions to avoid or correct potential health and safety hazards. The cost of the new safer product was comparable, but big blue didn’t want to tamper with its lucrative proven process. Switching chemicals would have raised a red flag with workers and opened Pandora’s box for IBM. We’re not talking about accidents here now, okay? We’re talking about definitive courses of action that exposed hundreds of thousands of people. They had a choice, they had a choice, and they chose cost, they chose a dollar over the employee. In 1989 IBM paid Johns Hopkins university 5 million dollars to conduct a study of chemical exposure in its clean rooms. IBM directed scientists to limit their findings to two types of reproductive hazards: sub-fertility and spontaneous abortion. The study revealed that work with EGE glycol ether required processes was associated with delayed conception among female employees. This is compatible with the findings that EGE exposure increased spontaneous abortion rates. Despite these alarming findings, again, IBM lied to its employees. IBM failed to tell employees that it distorted and manipulated the study. The company knew about Zachary Roughing and at least nine other children, who suffered crippling birth defects. IBM never asked JHU to study birth defects or cancer – apparently, a ploy to avoid liability. Then IBM deliberately suppressed data about birth defects to exclude them from the study. I asked him if it was too late to take part in that study and how would I go about it. He wasn’t really certain, you know, whether it was too late or whatever, but he said he would sit with me and take down all the information. And we sat at length and he took down all the information from me. So, do you know whether or not that was ever factored in? I never heard anything again. For six months I brought my urine in every month. I gave him a description of where it was, blah, blah, blah. And after that study I never received – they’re supposed to give you a hundred dollars – I never received my hundred dollars. I never received any kind of… nothing. I was never heard of it again. You know, it was just over with and then the next thing I heard is okay, Robin, everything’s fine in there, you can go in there, there’s no miscarriages, there’s no problems, it just had to be some isolated problems. Because we’ve been hearing for years women were having a lot of miscarriages, but they kept brainwashing me and saying, it was just, that’s normal women have miscarriages, blah, blah, blah. You know, it’s you, don’t take it to heart. I went to the John Hopkins study after the miscarriage and they gave me, I had to give urine and all that, but then they told me after the study was over I was gonna get a report. I never got a report, never found out what happened, what did they find, or anything like that. Although corporate policy dictated that pregnant women be removed from the production line, both Robin and Virginia’s second pregnancies threatened their jobs at IBM. I went to my manager and told him, look I’m coming off of this line, all right? You are not going to make me, you cannot make me stay on the line. He said, next time your job could be in jeopardy. I said, I really don’t care, all right, I said. Because you people just don’t seem to care, you know? You do your little studies but you don’t come back and let people know what is going on. John Hopkins study came back fine, Robin. It’s up to you to stay in the line or get out this time. Because, you know, things are kind of hairy, you know, with the layoffs coming along, and for you to be out of the line for nine months, you know, could jeopardize your job. By the early 90s IBM was caught in its own wicked web of lies and deception. Business was booming but damage control topped the agenda. More than 100,000 dedicated employees lost their livelihoods. They knew when they laid all these people off in 91 that a majority of them were sick, and they laid them off so they could not sue them personally, but then would have to go after the chemical companies. In March of 1996 hundreds of employees exposed IBM’s dirty secret to the world, finally able to come clean about the decades of abuse they suffered at the hands of big blue. Did those jobs come at a terrible price? I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cancer, birth defects among a group of workers and their children. You’re constantly exposed to fumes. You’re intelligent people, why didn’t you say something? We did say something. But IBM turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to its workforce, and with its silence destroyed the lives, families and communities, whose blood, sweat and tears made big blue a top 10 fortune 500 corporation. There was a speaker that got up and said, the largest fund that they had in IBM was the retirement fund because no one ever lived to collect their full benefit. And I was wondering then, I wonder why? Now everyone knows why – the price of IBM’s greed is measured in untold human suffering. Everybody tell me their names, start with Sarah, Sarah, Chrissy. And so, tell me something about everybody. Get back there, Sarah. She’s handicapped, daddy’s fine, Laura is fine, I’m fine, mommy’s fine. Chris is not fine? Christina Cordero was born with a chromosomal birth defect similar to down syndrome – Trisomy 18. What did that mean to you? Nothing. Absolutely. They had no literature on it either, because amazingly, NYU being such a big hospital, they made me feel like there had never been a baby born with this for years. And the literature they gave me was from 1942. So I just felt like, you know, life as I knew it ended, you know, certain things happen in your life that, you know, is going to alter your life. And I knew that this was one of those things, but the one thing they did tell me, she wasn’t going to live more than a few days, a few hours, three weeks. So I just prepared for that. That was 14 years ago. For the Daily family the nightmare began 21 years ago. Chris and Nancy Daily were unprepared for the shock and devastation of their twin daughter’s birth defect – epidermolysis bullosa. It’s a rare skin disease that causes their flesh to blister and bleed profusely. Kate had no skin from her hip all the way down and her leg was just dangling they didn’t even think it was bone. And it was just like raw meat. And Kelly had one small blister behind her ankle and the physician that came on the ambulance to take them down to New York hospital said that it might be epidermolysis bullosa. So he had seen one case and that was his thought at the time. What did that phrase mean to you? Absolutely nothing. Very scary. Right away we wanted to find out any information on it that we could and at the time, 21 years ago, the best you could find was a paragraph or two in any medical journals. I mean, calling different doctors, dermatologists, it’s just extremely rare. Unable to touch or hold their daughters, Chris and Nancy fought back the tears as they watched Kate and Kelly fight for their lives in New York hospital’s neonatal ICU. They couldn’t suck on a bottle because it would cause extreme blistering in the mouth. So we would feed them with 35 cc syringes and they just told us, okay, you’re going to be able to take them home now. I bandaged once, and they were bandaged from the neck down completely, and there were wounds all over, and I just thought to myself: how are we going to do this? A question that Ronald Murray and his wife asked each other repeatedly. Each of their four children were afflicted with birth defects, blood disease, or cancer. The couple’s first daughter Edwina was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare bone disease. 40 broken bones she was born with. There was no indications nowhere that anything was wrong. Nothing, until her body, sections of her body started turning blue, and they decided to do further testing. There was something wrong with her bones and with that, they finally came back to us and said that she can’t go home because she can’t even wear a diaper. She can’t have a blanket lay on her because she could try and move, and break another bone. Edwina lived only 18 months. The Murray’s second daughter was born with a giant tumor in place of one lung and died three days later. The couple rejoiced when Kathleen Louise was born healthy, but their hopes were shattered when she was diagnosed with a rare blood disease as a toddler. Doctor took the baby right out of Barbara’s arms and said we have to test her immediately because she can bleed to death just laying in her arms. What it was, the blood was coming out of, I guess, the capillaries and something, some type of bacteria was in her body that was chewing up her platelets. Ronald Murray buried two babies. Kathy, now an adult, lives with the memories of a painful childhood and an uncertain future, and Ron’s only son and namesake was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 28. Keith Barrack was only 30 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He knows the fear and pain that comes with the disease. Less than 10 days after diagnosis Keith had one testicle removed and doctors discovered that the cancer had spread. They did what they could on that day, which they cut me wide open and they took out 54 lymph nodes, and they had to test all them. I have an 18 to 20 inch scar from my groin to my sternum. I have a five inch scar in my groin from when they had to take out, the removal of my testicle. Holly Desser too knows the pain of surgery. She bears the scars of more than 10 operations resulting from spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Her most recent operation was a shunt revision to drain fluid from her brain. It goes from here, goes down here, down here and is sewn into my abdomen’s wall. Her right kidney, we just found out a little over a year ago, is like 50% functioning. It looks like a raisin on the X-ray, doesn’t even look like a kidney. She has to catheterize herself every four to six hours and, I mean, it’s hard on her. And then she has to wear the leg braces and to have a fancy dress on. She can’t even get shoes, I mean. Besides all her medical issues, it’s her self-image too. Self-image and surgery go hand in hand for Kate and Kelly – each has endured more than 30 surgeries in their 21 years. Bandages protect their oozing wounds from infection and cover the malformation of their hands called a mitten deformity. Every time there’s wounds, the skin scars and the hands, what happens is the V in the finger, the scar tissue grows up and it looks like the fingers are very shortened. But that’s because the V is up here now. The scar tissue makes it very tight, and the hands start going in, and actually they’ve lost the whole tip of their fingers. It’s completely bent over and the bone reabsorbed. Kate describes the surgical procedure that she and Kelly just had and routinely endured to be able to use their hands. They cut down my web spaces and lengthened my fingers and they put steel pins in each of the tips to hold them straight while it’s healing and they cut my palm open so that I could have more extension. Because of the constant trauma and healing, and scar tissue, I get contractures and my fingers fused to my palm. Kate and Kelly suffer exhausting and painful wound care. It takes nurses more than six hours each day to soak off bandages, lance blisters, and reapply bandages to the new sores that develop every day. The skin, it’s a scar tissue build up and it’s internal as well as external, so a lot of it isn’t obvious. But they’ve got very narrow esophaguses, and strictures, and webs, a lot of times they can’t swallow anything for days at a time. That’s why we ended up getting the G-tube. They have spontaneous corneal abrasions, a lot of times they can’t open their eyes, don’t get an actual blister in the eye, but can’t open their eyes for days at a time. Sometimes it’ll last a day, sometimes a week, a lot of bowel trouble. These are all the non-obvious things… For each of these families and hundreds of others each day is lived moment by moment. Memories of the past and what might have been are too painful to ponder, and dreams of the future are dampened by the reality of death. I live my life on a day-to-day basis, you know, live for today, you know, and yes, live for the future, but live for the positive in my future. I’m at Spekenkill high school. I’m a junior, I have one more year until I graduate. After graduation I want to go hopefully to Texas for veterinary medicine and open up my own practice, you know, after vet school. And I’m not gonna let this disability get me down. To this day I’m not recovered because you know they cut all the muscles in my stomach. My endurance is a lot weaker. I was in very good shape at the time and because I was basically dormant for six months, my body got very weak and I’ve never really been up to the level that I was. It wasn’t a swish, break it down. I played all three sports: football, basketball, and baseball, some at a very high level – a semi-pro football; basketball I’ve played all over New York state and very competitive leagues. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about it. You know, some days there I’m very angry when I, you know, have to go for, like when I was going for checkups, you know, they would do physical exams, cat scans, X-rays, blood work, and I would have to wait three days to get the results for the blood work, so therefore I’m on pins and needles to get the results. That went on for three years. In the winter time I’m constantly getting sick because my immune system is weak because of the lymph nodes they are taken out. So every day it’s something. What have you learned from your daughter? A life it’s very fragile. Angry because she could have had a normal life like anybody else. But on the other hand, there’s not much I could do about it. But I had another normal kid like the other two out there, and we’re done. Good morning, Christy. What do you hope for Chrissy? As much enjoyment out of life that she can have. No pain and no suffering. That’s it. I know that her, you know, she’s not going to develop and have a normal life, that I knew, have known that from the beginning, but I just wanted it to be as pleasant as possible. When they were born 21 years ago, we got told by New York hospital that they might live two weeks, they might live two months, and they could possibly live into their 20s. And here they are. That’s what scares me more than anything, they haven’t come up with any cure yet. Kate and Kelly live in constant agony and the thought of death has been both friend and foe, but despite the odds, the twins are determined to live independently and attending college is one of their biggest triumphs. Writing is their passion and words are weapons they wield in their fight for a cure. On March 29th Kate and Kelly spoke about eb before the US house of representatives. Most people would rather die than speak in public. I would rather speak than die. Time is short, the stakes are high. I am a writer, I’ve written for pleasure, for grades, for catharsis. In preparing this speech I was writing for my life. When I told people that I was to be here pleading for research funds and had but two and a half minutes in which to state my case, it was suggested I simply walk in naked and not say a word. Though visually effective, this would only serve to illustrate the external havoc and not the internal ravages of corroding organs, the emotional and psychological effects of a disfiguring degenerative disease. I can’t even allow myself to think about a cure most of the time. I get dizzy with dreaming about the huge changes it would make in my life – the freedom, the magnitude of the freedom, life without bandages, constrictions, time to myself, independence… Kate and Kelly release their joy and pain through singing. They perform at local coffee houses and have even sung with Natalie Merchant and Bonnie Raitt for a crowd of 50,000 people. For the twins, the music is their message. God gave me the ability to sing because I have something people need to hear, and so he made it pretty to listen to, even if the words I’m saying aren’t so pretty. I call singing civilized screaming, because it feels so good but you’re letting out something beautiful. Kelly and Kate have the experience, empathy, and voices to tell poignant and powerful truths, but their voices will be silenced if their bodies succumb to the ravages of their disease. They’re adult women and we can have our relationship changes and I would be so upset if that guy… if I didn’t have that… this is so important to me this time now because our relationship changes and we’re much, even closer. It just kills me, and I know it kills my wife, and I know it kills my daughters most of all. By a show of hands, who here has suffered a miscarriage? And who here has lost a family member? And who here is suffering from a disease? Each of these people and their families have suffered tremendous losses and each knows at least one person who died as a result of exposure to IBM’s toxic chemicals. Over a period of months she basically, she passed away. We saw her go through chemotherapy, all to no avail and so it was just my dad and my sisters. And then three years later I was in my first year of college and I got a phone call, you know, come home like right away. I was out in California and I came home. It was too late, my father passed away from liver disease. My mother was 45, my dad was in his 60s, and so basically, I was 18, my sisters were 15, and we were on our own. Because of working in the chemicals she came down with the brain tumors and it just took her life and I feel cheated also. Because my mother wasn’t even there to see me graduate eighth grade and I just wonder what it would be like to have her there, you know. She was my life, like, I depended on her completely, and when IBM took her life away, I was… you know, I moved in with family, but that was like my main life source, and I depended on her for everything. And so I completely feel cheated. My husband was only 48 when he passed away. At least half of the department of people he worked with are also gone, including his manager. I live within three quarters of a mile from the plant, so who knows if this is not just the tip of the iceberg for my family. IBM poisoning its employees is only the tip of the iceberg. Big blue is also responsible for polluting the region’s water supply and illegal dumping of its toxic waste. IBM violated federal water pollution law code 1311, which states that the discharge of any pollutant by any person shall be unlawful. Not only did IBM internally poisoned all the individuals here today and several others. Previously to our lawsuit, the town of Hopewell Junction, their water was tainted by IBM Fishkill and I believe there was a lawsuit at that time on that. IBM contaminated that ground with all their chemicals. That site was built there from what I understand because it had a great aquifer, a lot of water which they need for their operations. How many people outside of us working in IBM coming down with something? How many people that were living in private homes outside IBM’s site were there wells contaminated or did they come down with some kind of a cancer because they contaminated the water table. A vitally important question with a staggering answer. IBM operates at least 12 manufacturing plants in North America alone, including Burlington, Vermont and San Jose, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. Their stories of environmental pollution, cancer, and death are eerily familiar. What if the employees who got cancer had known about these six men? They were chemists working together in the same lab in San Jose, California during the 60s and 70s. The company they did research for – IBM. Dateline tracked them down and found that John Wong was the first to get cancer, brain cancer at the age of 47. Eventually it killed him. Ray Hawkins died of brain cancer as well, he was 62. Abdominal cancer killed Gordon Mall at the age of 49. In all, four of the six got cancer including Gary Adams who developed a bone tumor. He and his former colleague Fred Tarman began to realize it might be more than sheer coincidence. All of a sudden we began to worry and then when another one, and then another one, now it really began to hit home. And then of course it’s too late, you know, it’s too late. I mean, you yourself inside know it’s too late. I mean, it’s damage has been done. Santa Clara County has been home to IBM and the semiconductor industry for decades. The devastation of their industrial pollution impacts millions of lives. KMTV News at 6. They are the power behind the Silicon Valley, high-tech companies known for their clean and modern campuses. But beneath the service looks the ugly threat to the people on the Peninsula and here in the South Bay. In a special report Janet Kim shows us the poison underneath the Valley. They are among the worst toxic sites in the country. Buried in the soil are chemicals that can cause cancer, liver failure or birth defects. Many people live right across from them and don’t even know it. You didn’t know it was a superfund site? No, I didn’t know. No one said anything. No one said anything to the residents of Burlington, Vermont. IBM is the state’s biggest economic engine and its Essex Junction plant employs more than 7,500 employees. You’re watching WPTZ TV News Channel 5. Tonight big legal blues for IBM. Why dozens of workers are threatening to sue? Explosive new allegations tonight involving IBM from the lawyer at the center of the biggest lawsuit in the history of the semiconductor industry. More than 300 Essex Junction employees have come forward with similar stories of miscarriages, birth defects, cancer and death. IBM’s corporate response remains the same. IBM Essex Junction spokesman Jeff Couture said, quote: we don’t believe the illnesses are the result of the clean room. We know of no scientific evidence which supports significant health problems, including cancer associated with working at IBM. IBM is an international corporation with operations in more than 160 countries. They too are victims of big blues’ chemical warfare. One of the things, the big items we were shipping overseas was a photo resist. We used to ship a lot to Essonne, France and Sindelfingen, Germany. And I could never get an MSDS or a CPS or we couldn’t get any paperwork on that, and we were told that it was because we make that right here and that’s proprietary information. And we can’t let that, we can’t, you know, it’s kind of like top secret, we can’t let that get out. Separated by thousands of miles but joined by a common link – the production of silicon chips. Greenock, Scotland’s Silicon Glen is a carbon copy of California’s Silicon Valley. IBM is a chemical supplier too and major player in European microchip production with the same catastrophic effects: miscarriages, birth defects, and cancers. I’m really very angry that most people in that industry knew that we were being exposed and could cause ill health over the period of the years. I’m so angry because I was a loyal worker, I gave them 100%, I did everything that they asked of me, and I’m so, so angry they weren’t loyal to me. IBM is an international business machine that wields its power with global impact. It promotes itself as the industry leader who provides solutions for the business world. IBM, Hoechst and Union Carbide’s chemical solutions have poisoned and killed thousands of people. They have destroyed the communities that embrace them, and they have polluted the planet that sustains us. Each corporation chose profit over people. The bottom line: individuals, families, and communities are dying.