LONDON Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has denied chemicals used in its manufacture of integrated circuits cause leukemia or lymphoma during a planned tour of its Gi-Heung wafer fab facility, about 39 miles south of Seoul, according to reports.
The reporters were invited on the tour in an apparent attempt to improve relations and calm fears, after allegations that the company is responsible for cancers amongst its workforce. The tour, which took place Thursday (April 15) represented a break with Samsung's previous stance, marked by terse denials liability and almost no official statements, the reports said.
The deaths and illnesses date back over a number of years. The company has been under pressure as a number of lobbying groups in Asia have come together to launch the "Samsung Accountability Campaign." The groups claim to have discovered an unusual cluster of cancers amongst Samsung fab workers and the campaign is demanding that Samsung take responsibility and compensate workers.
Samsung asserted during the tour that the plant is free of carcinogens but said it will accept another investigation. According to a Reuters report the chip production lines where employees worked and later developed the illnesses have been converted into chip test lines and light emitting diode production lines.
Activist groups claim at least 23 people, including six named in an ongoing law suit, have developed cancer over a decade and that at least nine have died, according to an Associated Press report.
"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," a Reuters report quoted Cho Soo-in, president of Samsung's memory division, as saying. "We will do our best to improve the working environment and better communicate from now on," he is also quoted as saying.