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Court Orders RCA to Pay NT$564 Million in Damages in Pollution Case


Court Orders RCA to Pay NT$564 Million in Damages in Pollution Case
Source: All Taipei newspapers   April 20, 2015
The Taipei District Court handed down its ruling on April 17 in a decade-long legal battle, ordering the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) to pay a total of NT$564.45 million (approximately US$18.11 million) in damages to 445 former workers and their families in what has been described as the worst professional hazard case related to industrial disaster in the nation. RCA may appeal the ruling to a higher court. 
In the class-action suit, the RCA Self-Help Association had sought damages of NT$2.7 billion from RCA and other related companies.  
The collegiate court concluded in its ruling last Friday that RCA had used four kinds of carcinogenic organic solvents i.e., trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethene, trichloroethane, and dichloromethane, in tin soldering, which were hazardous to the health of the former RCA workers.   
More than 200 former workers at an RCA plant in Taoyuan have died of liver and lung cancer since the 1990's. 
RCA, which produced color TVs and other electronic products, employed thousands of workers at plants in then-Taoyuan County (now Taoyuan City), Hsinchu County, and Yilan County from 1970 to 1992.  
The Court determined that toxic chemicals from the plant in Taoyuan had polluted the groundwater in the area, which allegedly led to the high incidence of cancer among its former employees.
According to media reports, since 1992, more than 1,300 former RCA employees have been diagnosed with various types of cancer, causing 221 fatalities.   
The legal battle between RCA and its former employees has lasted more than 15 years. Learning of the verdict last Friday, former RCA workers and their families cheered their victory. 

After the ruling was handed down, KMT Legislator Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥), a specialist in environmental protection, stated on April 17 that although additional scientific research was needed to prove whether there was a direct correlation between the pollution and the cancer cases of former RCA workers, RCA should shoulder its corporate responsibility on humanitarian grounds.  

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