South Korean Court Says Chemicals Used At Plant Caused Former Samsung Employee’s Cancer

South Korean Court Says Chemicals Used At Plant Caused Former Samsung Employee's Cancer

Friday saw the Seoul Administrative Court rule that chemicals used in Samsung’s manufacturing process for chips exposed factory workers to chemicals that resulted in cancer of one worker. Lee Eun-joo began her career with the company in 1993 at 17 and was exposed to the chemicals in her six years of working there before passing away in 2012.

Samsung’s Human Rights Issue Rears Its Head Again

According to RT, the specifics of the ruling was that the Administrative Court found a “significant casual relationship” between Lee Eun-joo’s the chemicals found in the glue used in Samsung’s chip plants—formaldehyde and phenol—and her cancer.

It was also pointed out that it was prolonged exposure over six years and not the amount of chemicals that proved hazardous. As far as compensation for Lee’s family, the Court said that the government shouldn’t be strict in deciding if her family should get compensation from Samsung.

Samsung has a history of picking up human rights violations caused by work conditions and policies to meet a demand for its products. Violations have run the gamut from unsafe work conditions to child labor and have become public in recent times.

Funds have been established for compensation—an $85.8 million fund recent—and apologies issued in the past, but the company has been keen not to publicly acknowledge that chemicals had a role in worker illnesses.

Earlier this month, Samsung agreed to let inspectors into plants following a legal agreement with groups representing former workers who became ill working for the company.


Starting with Kabir News in 2013, James has focused on tech, gaming, and entertainment. When not writing, he enjoys catching up on sci-fi and horror shows and comics. He can be followed on Twitter @MetalSwift.

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