Intel Contractor Files Lawsuit Following Exposure to Toxic Chemicals at Hillsboro Plant

Ivan Higgs says he lost his sense of smell after he was exposed to toxic chemicals at Intel’s D1X plant.

BE COOL: Industrial cooling towers at Jones Farm Intel campus in Hillsboro. (Alexander Oganezov/Shutterstock)

An Intel contractor filed a $500,000 lawsuit last week, accusing the company of negligence after he lost his sense of smell following exposure to toxic chemicals at his worksite.

Ivan Higgs, a 50-year-old steamfitter, was working at the D1X building on Intel’s Hillsboro campus in April 2022, when he was exposed to toxic vapors used to clean equipment at the facility, he alleges in a complaint filed April 17 in Washington County Circuit Court.

His nose and lungs felt “on fire,” Higgs said, and over the course of the next few days, and more exposures, he began to lose his sense of taste and smell. He reported the issue to his supervisor at Charter Construction, who in turn reported it to Intel.

Other workers using the powerful chemicals were wearing “fresh air hoses” and other protective equipment, the lawsuit says, but Higgs was not warned of the danger.

His sense of smell is now gone completely, he says. The lawsuit accuses Intel of negligence for not providing proper protective equipment to workers at the plant and failing to warn them of the dangers.

It’s not the first time Intel’s safety practices have come under scrutiny in recent years. In 2022, the company left a key piece of safety equipment off for over two months over the summer, allowing poisonous gases to vent into the air, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Intel declined to comment on the lawsuit’s allegations. A spokesperson released the following statement after publication of this story: “Intel is committed to providing a safe workplace for our employees, contractors, customers, partners and the public.”

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