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Published on April 24, 2024
Hillsboro Intel Contractor Sues for $550,000, Claims Chemical Exposure at D1X Plant Cost Sense of Taste and SmellSource: Google Street View

An Intel contractor has taken legal action against the tech giant, demanding $550,000 after claiming that exposure to toxic chemicals at Intel's D1X factory in Hillsboro cost him his sense of taste and smell. Ivan Higgs, who was employed through Charter Construction for welding services, filed the lawsuit last week, as reported by OregonLive.

Higgs asserts that during his stint in April 2022, he was subjected to dangerous chemicals used for cleaning machinery without proper warnings or the safety attire donned by other workers. According to a story published by WWeek, while other employees were equipped with "fresh air hoses" for protection, Higgs received no such safeguards. His lawsuit accuses Intel of negligence, specifically for their failure to provide adequate protective equipment and lack of warnings about the chemical hazards present.

This incident falls into a pattern of safety issues involving Intel – in 2022, the company reportedly left vital safety equipment disabled for over two months, allegedly allowing poisonous gases into the atmosphere, which caught the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's attention. When approached for a comment on the current legal complaint, Intel responded with a generic statement emphasizing their commitment to a secure work environment, avoiding any comment on the pending lawsuit as per KOIN's report.

The legal documents detail distressing experiences of chemical exposure. Higgs claims he felt as though his nose, lungs, and mouth were "'on fire,'" a situation that eventually led to a complete loss of smell and a partial loss of taste. The lawsuit further alleges that Intel failed to ventilate the chemical usage area properly, did not warn workers about the presence of these chemicals, and did not supply the necessary safety equipment. Despite reporting the malodorous chemicals to his supervisor, and the report being passed on to Intel, Higgs says he did not receive a notification from Intel or its employees concerning the harmful substances, according to KOIN. Intel maintains its stance on the importance of safety but has refrained from discussing the specifics of this case.