Dozens of Cancer Deaths At Samsung Electronics Plants in Korea —
Global Campaign Demands Samsung Act Responsibly
On March 31, 2010, Park Ji-yeon, a young semiconductor worker at Samsung’s Onyang factory, died of leukemia at age 23, having been diagnosed with the cancer three years earlier. Workplace health and safety groups in Korea have now documented more than 45 cancer deaths among Samsung workers, primarily operators, engineers and research workers.
One striking aspect of the deaths from blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma is the young age of the victims – many in their 20s who have developed the cancers after working in Samsung’s semiconductor plants. Samsung, one the world’s largest and most powerful transnational corporation, ranks number one in global flat screen TV and number two in global mobile phone sales, with 2009 sales revenue of $120.48 billion.
Samsung has denied any cancer cluster exists in its facilities and has refused to take responsibility for the occupational cancers. The deaths at Samsung have raised the issue of cancers and other illnesses among electronics workers throughout the global supply chain among workers for all international brands and their contract factory operators.
Workplace OHS groups globally have launched a campaign to publicize the cancer deaths, Samsung’s refusal to recognized them, and the need for greater protection of electronics workers health and safety in Korea and wherever electronic products are produced.