死了幾位電子廠女工之後:有機溶劑的健康風險爭議

作者資訊
林宜平
陽明大學科技與社會研究所副教授

摘要

   本研究回顧及討論有機溶劑的健康風險爭議,重建RCA(Radio Company of America)電子廠1992年關廠之前的有機溶劑使用狀況及作業環境,並且從新政治科學社會學(New Political Sociology of Science)的觀點,討論有機溶劑環境與職業健康風險爭議中的「該做而未做的科學研究」(undone science)。

   本研究發現,在多名年輕女工猝死的「飛歌事件」後,政府部門於1974年開始管制有機溶劑,不過RCA在飛歌事件後,持續宣導三氯乙烯的安全性,直至1988年,工廠的作業環境仍因排氣通風不良,佈滿有機溶劑。RCA不但惡意傾倒有機溶劑,污染地下水,並且有八次違反有機溶劑管理規則的紀錄。台灣的RCA流行病學研究,由於次級資料庫殘缺不齊,低估早期進廠勞工的健康危害。作者並以國際學術社群的三氯乙烯健康效應研究為例,討論科學證據生產過程中的性別、階級與種族不平等。

本研究指出,科學研究是複雜的政治、經濟、法律與社會產物,無論台灣的RCA研究,或是國際科學社群的有機溶劑健康效應研究,都有許多該做而未做的科學研究,而政府和被視為模範工廠的RCA,對勞工健康的保護,也有許多該盡而未盡的責任。

Abstract

 In this study, I review and discuss the health risk controversies of organic solvents. I reconstruct the solvents’ usage and working environment in RCA’s factory before its closure in 1992. I also examine the “undone science” of the health risks of organic solvents from the perspective of the “New Political Sociology of Science”.

I find that after the Philco case in the 1970s, RCA continued using and promoting the safety of trichloroethylene. Due to its poor ventilation systems, RCA’s factory was filled with solvents until 1988. Not only did the RCA factory pollute the ground water with organic solvents, they had eight occupational solvent regulation violations. Taiwanese RCA epidemiological studies suffered from incomplete and crippled databases, and underestimated the health hazards to the workers. I further examined the toxicological and occupational studies of trichloroethylene. These revealed that there were gender, class and racial inequalities in the production of scientific evidence.

I conclude that scientific research has complicated political, economic, legal and social contexts. There was “undone science” in both the RCA health research in Taiwan and in the international scientific research on the health risks of organic solvents. Finally, the government and RCA ignored their duties in protecting the health of workers. 

引用: 
《科技、醫療與社會》,第12期,頁2011年4月出版