Silicon Valley, the world’s most dynamic center of digital innovation, has more Superfund sites than any other region in the United States. In this talk, Christophe Lécuyer, professor of the history of science and technology at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris, reconstructs the chemical handling and disposal practices of semiconductor firms that caused this environmental debacle and were the source of high illness rates among Silicon Valley workers.
Lecuyer also investigates the controversies that brought the region’s health and water contamination crises to light in the late 1970s and first half of the 1980s. These controversies were initiated by radical labor activists interested in unionizing Silicon Valley. In order to mobilize workers and build community support for the organizing of the semiconductor industry, they attacked corporate negligence regarding employee safety and health and the storage of toxic chemicals. Their campaign led to a revolution in safety in Silicon Valley and large-scale environmental remediation efforts supervised by the Federal government.
Join us at the Computer History Museum as Professor Christophe Lécuyer investigates the environmental history of Silicon Valley.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043