IBM finds no higher cancer rate

Company-commissioned study contradicts results of controversial unpublished study

Trevor Stokes(
Nov 8, 2004

An IBM-commissioned study has found that employees at the company's microprocessor manufacturing plants had a lower rate of cancer than would be expected, contradicting results of a yet-unpublished study that found higher rates of cancer among workers and is at the root of a controversy involving the journal that was to publish it.

"Overall mortality among IBMers at the study locations was 35% lower than the comparison populations," Martin Sepulveda, IBM's vice president for occupational medicine, wrote in a company-wide employee memo. "Cancer among IBM employees was 16% lower."

The findings fly in the face those of another study, by Richard Clapp, at Boston University, who used IBM's employee dataset and concluded that there were higher mortality and cancer rates at plant facilities. The judge forbade Clapp from testifying during a recently resolved court case in California between IBM and former employees diagnosed with cancer. Because of the case,...