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IBM denies spiking fab cancer study

Editor cries foul as journal publisher drops report

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IBM has denied attempting to block the publication of research examining the death rates of workers at its chip fabs.

IBM is contesting legal action brought by families who claim relatives contracted cancer as a direct result of working at its East Fishkill, New York facility. The spiked study was an investigation of IBM mortality records made public in the legal action.

The research is detailed in a paper that was to have featured in the November 2004 issue of Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a scientific journal published in the US.

However, the periodical's publisher, Elsevier, a division of Reed-Elsevier, spiked the paper, European Semiconductor reports. According to guest editor Dr Joe LaDou of the University of California's San Francisco campus, the item was rejected because it was a research report and the journal only publishes reviews.

He has now called for authors who submitted articles for the November issue to boycott the journal.

IBM said the paper, prepared by Richard Clapp and Rebecca Johnson of Boston University, was flawed, but denied trying to block publication. Elsevier also denies that its decision was influenced by IBM.

In June 2004, IBM settled a similar case with workers at its San Jose hard drive plant. A separate East Fishkill case was settled in March 2004. ®

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