Man launches legal action over claims of exposure to noxious chemicals at Intel plant

23 November 2021

A man who claims he was exposed to a toxic and noxious chemical while working on a refurbishment job at the Intel Ireland plant has launched a High Court action.

Seven years after the alleged exposure, the prognosis for John Matthews (71), who suffers from shortness of breath, is chronic, his counsel, Barney Quirke SC, told the High Court.

The claims relate to the refurbishment of a clean room, where microchips are manufactured at the Intel plant, and the pouring of a chemical sealant known as Penatron/ASTC 3003c.

The case of Mr Matthews is being regarded as a test case for as many as 10 other actions being taken in the High Court in relation to alleged exposure.

Opening the case, Mr Quirke SC, with Richard Lyons SC instructed by solicitor Mark Tiernan, said the alleged exposure has had a cruel effect on the life of the father-of-four. He said his retirement is completely altered from what he had expected.

Counsel told Mr Justice Paul Coffey that Mr Matthews worked as a carpenter and was involved in “pop outs” where the chemical Penatron was poured.

Mr Matthews, of Ardee Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, has sued his employer Ardmac Ltd, with registered office at Swords Business Campus, Balheary Rod, Swords, Co Dublin, and Intel Ireland Ltd with registered offices at Simmonscourt House, Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin. The refurbishment works on an Intel clean room were being carried out by Ardmac at the Intel Leixlip, Co Kildare plant.

Alleged exposure to toxins 

Mr Matthews has claimed he was allegedly exposed to toxic and noxious chemicals, including Penatron/ASTC 3003c, between June 2013 and October 2014 while he was working at the Intel Leixlip plant.

He has also claimed a number of his co-employees were allegedly exposed to known carcinogens.

He has further claimed there was an alleged failure to have regard to the fact that the system of work devised, allegedly involved Mr Matthews and his co employees being exposed to a sensitising agent and they developed symptoms allegedly consistent with being exposed to noxious fumes or toxic chemical agents.

It is also claimed there was an alleged failure to have regard to Mr Matthews’ and his co-employees allegedly having symptoms which tended to improve when away from work and allegedly tended to recur or deteriorate on alleged exposure to the agent.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to change the work system and to take all appropriate steps or to provide all necessary equipment to prevent harmful exposure to sensitising agents. It is claimed there was an alleged failure to have regard to the fact that repeated or over exposure may allegedly cause lung damage, irritation or contact dermatitis and other harmful symptoms and conditions. All the claims are denied. Opening the case, Mr Quirke said Mr Matthews was 63 years old at the time of the alleged exposure.

Counsel said Mr Matthews had stinging in his eyes, blisters on the tongue and symptoms which he said were typical of exposure to allegedly harmful chemicals. The case before Mr Justice Paul Coffey continues on Wednesday.

If you would like an assessment of a claim, you can use the online form available here without obligation or alternatively you can use the automatic claim calculator.

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