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Residents Say IBM Made Them Sick

More than 90 current and former residents of Endicott, N.Y., sued IBM Jan. 3 for wrongfully and recklessly dumping toxic chemicals into the environment around the company's Endicott location, causing health problems and damaging property and the environment.

The 43-page lawsuit filed in the Broome County, N.Y., Supreme Court, alleges IBM, which built computers, circuit boards, integrated circuits and related goods at its Endicott facilities from 1924 to 2002, failed to protect residents from toxic chemicals, including Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloroethane and Benzene.

The plaintiffs point to a variety of health problems that they blame on the discharge, release, emission or leakage of the chemicals and their waste products from the IBM plant. They also claim the chemicals leaked into the air, soil and groundwater contaminating nearby homes and businesses.

The residents are seeking unspecified punitive damages and attorneys' fees, according to the suit.

According to the suit, IBM should have known that the volatile organic chemicals it had wrongfully discharged into the air, soils and groundwater, and which had contaminated the groundwater beneath the Village of Endicott and the Town of Union, would remain volatile in the soil for substantial periods of time, exceeding decades, and would migrate, as vapors, into the homes, businesses, schools and churches located above the contaminated groundwater plume.

IBM spokesman Michael Maloney said in a statement the lawsuit is without merit. "As we explained to plaintiffs' lawyers before they filed this case, these suits have no basis in science or law, and IBM will defend itself vigorously."

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Yesenia Salcedo

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