South Korea Court Links Cancer To Samsung Factory Conditions

A South Korean court last week ruled that a Samsung factory worker's ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals on the job.

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A South Korean court last week ruled that a Samsung factory worker's ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals on the job.

The Associated Press reports that the decision by the Seoul Administrative Court was the first linking the disease to chemical exposure at the electronics giant's chip factories.

Lee Eun-joo began working at a Samsung factory in 1993 at age 17. She reportedly worked with glues containing formaldehyde and phenol during her six years at the plant.

In 2012, Lee died after a 10-year battle with ovarian cancer.

The court cited a "significant causal relationship" between her cancer and long-term exposure to even low levels of chemicals, as well as poor ventilation in the factory and numerous night shifts.

The government agency that oversees workers' occupational insurance was ordered to compensate Lee's family.

The court finding came weeks after Samsung reached a partial agreement on chemical oversight at its plants. The company and a group representing sick employees, however, remain at odds over compensation issues.

Banolim, which represents the sick workers, said more than 200 current or former Samsung employees became gravely ill since the 1980s; 76 later died.

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