Monday, March 15, 2004

IBM Chemical Problems In The News Again

Computer maker IBM, which has been in the news for a number of lawsuits, is once again in the news for contaminating a town in NY.
"Your house acts as a kind of chimney" for the vapors, which have tested positive for the contaminant trichloroethene, or TCE, said Alan Turnbull, 69, who in 2002 created the Residents Action Group of Endicott, also known as R.A.G.E., after his wife, Donna Turnbull, 57, was found to have throat cancer. Ms. Turnbull does not smoke, and she used to exercise regularly in her finished basement. Now, she rarely ventures down the basement stairs.

That the TCE found in Endicott, a suspected carcinogen, has been measured at very low levels is scant comfort to those worried about more than two decades of exposure. "Oh, sure, we're scared to death," said Ms. Turnbull, who has lived in her Cleveland Avenue home for 21 years. "We know the chemicals are dangerous, but we don't know how dangerous or the long-term effects."

Results of air quality tests from homes in 2002 prompted the state environmental officials to announce in January that the Endicott pollution was more serious than previously believed.