Samsung's cancer-stricken workers topic for debate in South Korea

Samsung's cancer-stricken workers are a huge topic for debate in South Korea following a documentary illuminating the company's use of carcinogens in their plants.

According to the testimony of Hwang Sang-ki, a 58-year-old Korean taxi driver, Samsung Electronics was responsible for the death of his 22-year-old daughter, Yu-mi.

Yu-mi and her workstation friend who she worked side-by-side with both got an aggressive form of the blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia.

"They worked together, and they died," Hwang told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Only about 3 out of every 100,000 people die of leukemia in South Korea.

Two documentaries were released back-to-back in February and March of this year depicting the stories of these two women, and other Samsung factory workers who contracted leukemia and rare cancers, and their families.

"Another Promise" and "Empire of Shame" together depict their struggles, and show Hwang's seven-year battle against the corporation to expose their use of carcinogens in electronics factories, especially semiconductor plants.

Since the movement, activists have discovered 58 cases of leukemia and other blood-related cancers across several Samsung plants.

Samsung "spent about $88 million in 2011 on the maintenance and improvement of its safety-related infrastructure," they said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

A Samsung-commissioned health study, released Thursday, said that the working conditions at their semiconductor factories don't pose any health risks to South Korean workers.

The study, conducted by U.S.-based firm Environ, claims they found no link between the several leukemia cases and their plants, although they failed to release the data backing up this statement.

"They have not addressed any of the controversial issues and continued to lay out abstract answers. It seems like it was all a huge show," said Kong Jeong-ok, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Labor Safety and Health, told CNN.

In June, an administrative court ruled in favor of two ex-employees who died from leukemia, but there are still over 70 people who claim to have fallen ill because of Samsung's working conditions.

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