The prolific struggle of Taiwanese former employees of the U.S.-based Radio Corporation of America, which operated from 1970 to 1992, has finally reached court in Taiwan. The company had been dumping its chlorinated organic solvent into the same aquifer that supplied workers with drinking and bathing water during its two decades of operation. Many workers believe that their cancer and other grave illnesses are caused by chronic exposure to these toxic substances while they worked for the company. Although the company settled with the government over soil and groundwater pollution, they have denied responsibility for any health issue of the workers. The workers' campaign has now lasted more than a decade. Their tort suit against RCA, the first collective lawsuit in Taiwan, has finally been heard by the district court in late 2009.
Many issues are at stake in this prolific controversy: social-environmental consequences of the high-tech electronics industry, scientific causation in court, and the collective nature of epistemological causation vis-à-vis individualistic view of justice, to name a few. Members of the STS community, in collaboration with workers, activists, lawyers, public-health professionals, and many student volunteers have mobilized to undertake the massive support work necessary for this historic litigation. Such social engagement brought about some fresh vigor into the academic community.