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The neighbors of a former IBM plant in two upstate New York towns are suing the company for allegedly discharging chemicals, such as trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, into the air, water and ground for the past eighty years. The plaintiffs claim the chemicals caused birth defects and cancer and are seeking unspecified damages. The lawsuit is said to be the first of several planned against IBM by almost one thousand people claiming they have been harmed by the chemicals released by the company.

This case resembles a case in Tallevast, Florida against Lockheed Martin Corp., one of the world’s largest defense contractors, where the Michie Hamlett Law Firm is one of several law firms representing more than 300 community members and plaintiffs. In this case, Lockheed Martin discovered one of its former beryllium plants had leaked toxins into the Tallevast community’s water and soil, thus contaminating the area. Lockheed Martin told government officials about the leak, but did not tell members of the community until more than three years after the toxins were found. Lockheed Martin has agreed to clean up the toxic mess, which it estimates may take more than 100 years to fully remediate. The residents of the community, and the Florida Department of Health, are still researching the toxins’ effects on the health of the community. It is generally accepted, however, that many of the toxins involved have been known to cause cancer. The citizens of the community have also faced increased incidences of various forms of cancer, respiration problems, miscarriages, unusual nose bleeds and neurological problems.

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