High profile fear factors

Every day, there seems to be a new federal strategy or tip on how to combat terrorism.

In fact, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, of Northampton, Mass., recently reported on a 90-minute workshop in City Hall that teaches pet guardians, meat producers, veterinarians, and anyone else who comes into contact with canines, cats or cattle, about symptoms in animals that might signal a bioterrorist event.

This is almost as scary as it is ridiculous, especially when considering some of the headlines IBM Corp. is getting these days.

In a Santa Clara, California courtroom, a jury is mulling over whether IBM doctors knew workers' health complaints—ranging from skin rashes and eye infections to headaches and nausea—were early symptoms of cancer.

Richard Alexander, attorney for the workers, says the ailments are clear indicators of chemical poisoning and cancer risk, but Big Blue says the allegations are not indicative of its workplace health, safety practices and policies.

Meanwhile, in Endicott, N.Y., state and local health and environmental officials are investigating the “area of vapor contamination” created by plume, which stems from a 1979 chemical spill at a nearby IBM plant. IBM claims that test results show 40 percent of the contamination comes from other sources, including a dry cleaning service, a printing company and a metal fabricator.

It's bad enough that there is a looming threat of terrorism. But IBM's insolence towards people who it may have gravely harmed suggests that with employers and neighbors like that, we may never even see the terrorists coming.

Mark A. DeSorbo
Associate Editor


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