Intel Sued After Contractor Allegedly Loses Sense of Taste, Smell Due to Plant’s Toxic Fumes

By Staff
2 Min Read

Just last month, Intel announced plans to spend some $36 billion to expand and modernize operations in Hillsboro, Oregon, partly funded by awards from the Biden Administration’s Chips & Science Act.

Just a month later, the Oregon plant is facing some decidedly less positive news.

The Oregonian has reported that Intel is being sued by a contractor who alleges exposure while working at Hillsboro caused him to lose both his sense of taste and smell.

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Ivan Higgs of Charter Construction contends that he was exposed to toxic chemicals in 2022 when his firm was hired for welding and other tasks within the plant. After being exposed to chemicals used to clean and service factory equipment, Higgs alleges his mouth, nose and lungs felt as if they were ‘on fire.’

The lawsuit says that Higgs senses deteriorated over the following days and now his sense of smell is gone, and his sense of taste is partially so. The lawsuit seeks compensation of $50,000 for medical bills and another $500,000 for other damages, citing Intel’s alleged negligence in not providing him with adequate safety gear.

Willamette Week, who first reported the story, said that Higgs – a steamfitter – attested that other workers using the powerful chemicals were wearing “fresh air hoses” and other PPE, but that he was not warned of the danger.

The report added that Intel has declined to comment directly, though offered a statement saying the company is “committed to providing a safe workplace for (its) employees, contractors, customers, partners and the public.”

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