Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH) and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) Records
MSS-2007-04-06  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (135.11 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
 
 
Table of contents What's This?

Collection Contents

 

Series I:  SCCOSH, Activism 1976-2002

Physical Description: 4 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series document the activism of the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH) through various campaigns in the fields of worker's rights advocacy and occupational safety and health training, particularly within the region's electronics industries. At the group's outset, SCCOSH envisioned itself as representing three constituencies: local labor unions and labor councils, ill and injured workers, and community residents affected by wildfire industrial development of the Santa Clara Valley since the mid-1970s. One of the group's earliest organizing efforts was a breast cancer screening program for workers using the industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE), which led to the successful "Campaign to Ban TCE" in 1981 and 1982. The TCE campaign manifested two conscious organizing strategies, pressuring employers directly and litigating through state and federal regulatory agencies, both of which became common elements in later SCCOSH programs. Other formative SCCOSH projects include a telephone worker's consultation service, the Hazard Hotline, managed under the project banner of Electronics Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (ECOSH), and a legal consultation and political activism network, Injured Workers United (IWU), formed in 1983 for electronics workers disabled by chemical exposure.
The Campaign to End the Miscarriage of Justice (CEMJ) was designed to pressure electronics manufacturers into eliminating certain widely used chemical solvents, ethylene-based glycol ethers, which had been linked by occupational health studies to increased miscarriages and other reproductive problems among workers.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 1

Administrative, Project, and Campaign Files 1976-2002

Folder 1

Project on Health and Safety in Electronics 1978-1981

Folder 2

Electronics Committee on Safety and Health 1976-2002

Folder 3

Campaign to End the Miscarriage of Justice 1981-1995

Folder 4

CEMJ Meeting Minutes, Agenda, and Notes 1994-1995

Folder 5

Working Women's Leadership Program 1981-2000

Boxes 2-3

Research Files 1978-1999

Box 4

Multimedia, News Segments, Educational Material 1978-1999

 

Series II:  SCCOSH, Workplace Hazard Files 1978-1999

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains all the files on individual workplace hazards amassed by the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH). The primary focus of this series relates to chemical hazards, especially those chemicals used intensively by Silicon Valley computer and electronics plants. In the early years of the organization, SCCOSH leaders Robin Baker, Amanda Hawes, Pat Lamborn, and other staff members found themselves charged with gathering, as well as disseminating, information on many of the chemicals used in high-tech manufacturing, despite the limited existing toxicological or epidemiological research.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Boxes 5-6

Workplace Hazard Research and Educational Material 1978-1999

 

Series III:  SCCOSH, Administrative Files 1978-2001

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH) organizational growth from its inception in 1978 to 2003 (bulk 1980-1990s). The middle years of the organization's history (1980s-1990s) are particularly well-documented. SCCOSH came into being as the unifying agency for two prior established women's health and labor rights campaigns, the Project on Health and Safety in Electronics (PHASE) and the Electronics Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (ECOSH), both of which continued in some form as programs under SCCOSH. The administrative files contained here document this growth through board meeting minutes, financial statements, and correspondence with other regional "COSH" groups around the country. Researchers interested in U.S. labor movements of the late twentieth century, particularly those involving issues of worker's health and labor justice will find this series useful.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged chronologically by box date range
Box 7

Financial Files 1978-1999

Box 8

Meeting Minutes, Incorporation Papers, Correspondence 1978-2001

Folder 1

Incorporation Papers/By Laws 1978-2000

Folder 2

Board Meeting Minutes 1986-2001

Folder 3

Correspondence 1978-1995

 

Series IV:  SCCOSH, Legal Case Files 1980-1998

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series document the Campaign to End the Miscarriage of Justice (CEMJ) organized by the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH) and the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC). The CEMJ pressured electronics manufacturers into eliminating certain widely used chemical solvents such as ethylene-based glycol ethers, which occupational health studies linked to increased miscarriages and other reproductive problems among workers. The collection consists of legal case files and VHS tapes recording depositions and legal hearings. The lawsuits represented include Cruz v. Wilson Safety Products (199?), Perez v. Varian Association & Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (1997), Carreon v. Skywest Technology (1989), Carreon v. Shugart Company (1989), and Romic v. OSHA (1998). Much of the CEMJ campaign focused on obtaining justice for Rodrigo Cruz, a former employee of Romic Environmental Technologies. Silicon Valley technology firms hired Romic to collect and haul toxic waste. The company had a long-term record as a violator of health and safety laws, and their employees were forced to use faulty equipment or faced being fired. Cruz was critically injured on the job as result of a defective protective mask that slowly suffocated him while working on a job site. The CEMJ and SCCOSH protested on his behalf through public demonstrations and together they formed the "Justice for Rodrigo Cruz Campaign." The collection of research files and the VHS tapes document the role of grassroots coalitions to support worker's rights and to force tech companies to comply with state and local environmental regulations, and specifically to end their contracts with Romic. The big firms associated with Romic included: Intel, Hewlitt Packard, Linear Tech, National Semiconductor, Seagate, NEC Electronics, and Boeing.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 9

Legal Case Files 1980-1998

 

Series V:  SVTC, Model Hazardous Materials Storage 1981-1986

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series document the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition's (SVTC) role in the drafting and implementation of the Model Toxics Storage Ordinance for Santa Clara County. This ordinance was approved by the county Intergovernmental Council in May of 1983, and had been implemented in some form by fifteen municipalities in the region by 1984. This Santa Clara County Ordinances served as the blueprint for a statewide groundwater contamination legislation under State Assembly Bill AB 1362, which the state legislature adopted in the fall 1983. Ted Smith and other SVTC members led the drafting of the model ordinance and frequently participated in or spoke out at city hearings about its implementation. One controversial facet was a "right-to-know" provision requiring companies to disclose the location and contents of all potentially hazardous chemicals stored on their premises. An interrelated debate, well represented in this series, focused on the number of chemicals that should fall under the scope of the ordinance. The debate concerned whether the ordinance would apply to the full spectrum of chemicals listed as hazardous by the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (CAL/OSHA). Between the years 1982-1983, the SVTC lobbied for similar chemical storage regulations at the state level in the form of California Assembly Bill 1362 (1985).

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 10

Hazardous Materials Storage 1981-1986

Folder 1

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition 1983

Folder 2

List of Hazardous Substances 1985

Folder 3

City Task Force Meetings 1982-1983

Folder 3

City Task Force Meetings 1982-1983

Folder 4

Storage Ordinance Implementation Surveys 1984-1986

Folder 5

Press Clippings 1981-1986

 

Series VI:  SVTC, Groundwater Cleanup 1981-1997

Physical Description: 3 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series documents the role of Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC) and other South Bay area community activists in documenting, publicizing, and then attaining state and federal intervention for the contamination of local groundwater supplies by Silicon Valley area electronics manufacturers. Eventually nineteen sites polluted by faulty chemical storage had been declared Superfund cleanup sites under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More leaking chemical tanks were discovered in 1983-1984, and SVTC continued to push for greater intervention by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) and U.S. EPA, especially through the local forum provided by the South Bay Groundwater Contamination Task Force (SBGTCF). In 1985 Ted Smith testified before a California congressional investigation of groundwater contamination in the Valley. The full transcript of this investigation is located in box 11, folder 4 of this series.
Also included in this series are Smith's notes from the SBGTCF meetings from 1984 to 1990. In January of 1985, the California Department of Health Services (DOHS) released an epidemiological study of South San José near the contaminated public wells. This series includes draft copies of the DOHS report and correspondence between SVTC and various parties regarding its implications. Also included are records of SVTC and other Bay area environmental groups protesting the appointment of Gary Burke, then president of the Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group, to the RWQCB in 1993. This series illustrates how grassroots organizations came together to force industrial responsibility through city and state environmental regulations.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 11

Groundwater Cleanup 1981-1994

Folder 1

Great Oaks Water Company 1982-1988

Folder 2

Early Newspaper Coverage 1981-1982

Folder 3

EPA/SBGTCF 1984-1990

Folder 4

Smith Congressional Testimony 1985

Folder 5

DOHS Epidemiological Study 1984-1985

Folder 6

Gary Burke Appointment 1993-1994

Box 12

Groundwater Cleanup 1983-1997

Folder 7

Monsanto 1985-1990

Folder 8

Research Materials, Santa Clara Groundwater 1983-1996

Folder 9

Owens-Corning Report 1989-1991

Folder 10

Lorraine Ross 1986-1987

Folder 11

Romic 1989-1995

Folder 12

National Semiconductor 1991-1994

Folder 13

City of San José Environmental Committee 1991

Folder 14

Testing Analysis 1985-1997

Box 13

Groundwater Cleanup 1984-1997

Folder 1

Individual Company Files 1991

Folder 2

IBM 1991

Folder 3

National Semiconductor/AMD 1991-1994

Folder 4

Owens Corning 1985-1991

Folder 5

Philips Semiconductor (Signetics) 1984-1993

Folder 6

Precision Monolithics, Inc. 1984-1987

Folder 7

Pure Etch 1997

Folder 8

Rhone-Poulenc, Inc./Zoecon 1984

Folder 9

Romic Environmental Technologies Corp. 1995-1996

 

Series VII:  SVTC, Toxic Gas Model Ordinance 1982-1997

Physical Description: 3 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe the Silicon Valley Toxic Collation's (SVTC) part in developing a toxic gas model ordinance for Santa Clara County, which like the county's Model Hazardous Material Storage Ordinance (see Series IV) became a model for similar laws statewide and nationally. Beginning in 1985, SVTC activism came to focus increasingly on the dangers of gases used in Silicon Valley semiconductor (microelectronics) manufacturing, in part reflecting global anxieties raised by the disastrous Union Carbide plant explosion in Bhopal, India, in December of 1984. With the 1986 passage of California Assembly Bill 3777, requiring each county in the state to develop a toxic gas emergency plan, Ted Smith was appointed as a task force member for Santa Clara County alongside elected officials, city fire chiefs, and representatives of the area's electronics industry.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 14

Newspaper Clippings, Correspondence, SB14, Jeff Lake 1982-1992

Folder 1

Jeff Lake 1987

Folder 2

Newspaper Clippings 1982-1990

Folder 3

Correspondence, Legislative Files on SB14: Hazardouse Waste Source Retention and Mgmt. Act 1987-1992

Box 15

Research Notes 1986-1997

Folder 1

Research Materials 1987

Folders 2-3

Notes and Correspondence 1986-1988

Box 16

Research Notes 1986-1997

Folders 3-4

Notes and Correspondence 1986-1988

Folder 5

Toxic Gas Ordinance Milpitas 1990-1997

 

Series VIII:  SVTC, Administrative Files 1982-1999

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series includes administrative files providing insight into the internal proceedings, external correspondence, fundraising, and organizing of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) as it developed from a SCCOSH project into a wide-ranging, independent nonprofit organization.
Included is a group of materials pertaining to a 1985 "High-Tech Organizer's Retreat" held in Redwood City, California, organized by Ted Smith, Amanda Hawes, and some twenty other labor, occupational health, and environmental organizers. The Integrated Circuit, a national coalition formed out of the retreat and resulted in the publication of the newsletter Around the Circuit. In early 1986, SVTC separated from SCCOSH and established itself as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with its own Board of Directors. SVTC's funding in its early years came from The Public Welfare Foundation. Other grassroots groups, including San Francisco-based Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE) and the Citizen's Clearing House for Toxic Waste in New York, were influential and provided the SVTC with important fundraising advice.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 17

Administrative Files 1982-1999

Folder 1

Great Oaks Water Company Correspondence 1982-1986

Folder 2

High-Tech Organizers Retreat 1985

Folder 3

Bylaws/Application for 501(c)(3) Status 1986

Folder 4

Fundraising 1982-1986

Folder 5

Related Organizations, Inc. Correspondence 1985-1999

 

Series IX:  SVTC, Founder Ted Smith 1983-1995

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

Ted Smith is the founder and former Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition. He currently serves as the Senior Strategist for SVTC. Smith is also the co-founder and Coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT), an international network committed to working for the development of sustainable, non-polluting technologies. In addition, he is also the steering committee chair of the "Computer TakeBack Campaign", which is working to promote life-cycle producer responsibility within the high-tech electronics industry. He is co-editor of the book Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry (2006). In 2001, Ted was recognized by the Dalai Lama for his environmental leadership.
Ted Smith maintained a strong awareness of other political arenas in which workers and communities were disputing industrial pollution, whether locally throughout California, in other states, or at the level of federal regulatory agencies. From 1984 onward, acting as Executive Director of SVTC, Smith spoke to hundreds of environmental and community activist groups in the Bay Area, around the state, and increasingly internationally. Included in this collection are news clippings from computer, electronics, and semiconductor industry trade periodicals. Also well-documented is Smith's preparation for a 1985 public debate moderated by California Senator Allen Cranston, in which Smith was pitted against electronics industry representative Leo Kline, then director of the Industry Clean Water Task Force.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 18

Ted Smith 1983-1995

Folder 1

Ted Smith's Board Book 1985-1991

Folder 2

SVTC-Related Correspondence 1985-1987

Folder 3

Publications/Transcribed Talks 1983-1995

Folder 4

Record of Scheduled Talks 1984-1994

Folder 5

Written Notes 1994-1991

Folder 6

Other Activist Materials 1990-1991

Box 19

Meeting Files 1985-1990

Folder 1

Allen Cranston Toxics Debate 1985

Folder 2

Evergreen College Labor Conference 1990

 

Series X:  SVTC, United Technologies Corporation 1984-1995

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe the successful campaign by the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC) and other local organizers to end the burning of waste rocket fuel in the Coyote Foothills southeast of San José. The company incinerating the fuel, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), manufactured rockets for commercial and military applications, with one of its largest contracts in the mid-1980s coming from the United States Air Force for production of the Minuteman missile. UTC first established a research & development division in the Coyote region in the late 1950s, and it began using open pits to burn excess rocket fuel in the late 1970s. Alongside SVTC, those local groups active in protesting UTC's open-bit burning in the late 1980s included the Coyote Creek Neighborhood Association, the South Bay Greens, the San José State University Environmental Resource Center, and The UTC Conversion Project, which was housed in the San José Peace Center. The UTC Conversion Project, an umbrella group of sorts, was focused not only on eliminating the open-pit burning, but on the larger objective of pressuring the UTC Coyote facility to transition to "non-military, non-toxic" products. In 1989, the Conversion Project authored and circulated a petition to the U.S. E.P.A, requested the pit areas be declared a Superfund federal cleanup site.
For specific details on the role that SVTC played in the UTC Conversion Project, see box 20, folder 1, which includes a long script of arguments presented by Ted Smith to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on October 11, 1990. Researchers will also find letters from residents of the Coyote Creek Neighborhood to BAAQMD Chairperson Paul Cooper after the UTC pits were closed in 1992 (see box 20, folder 4). See Series XI, box 22 for a more detailed account of the UTC case, including notes from what appear to be UTC Conversion Project meetings as well as a full transcript of an October, 1990, BAAQMD hearing at which Ted Smith served as a witness for the public.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by date range.
Box 20

United Technologies Corporation 1984-1995

Folder 1

UTC Activism 1989-1992

Folder 2

Environmental Impact Reports 1984-1995

Folder 3

Background/News Clippings 1986-1992

Folder 4

Letters to BAAQMD 1992

 

Series XI:  SVTC, Toxics Coordinating Project 1985-1990

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's (SVTC) organizational ties to the Toxics Coordinating Project (TCP), a network of California-based environmental, occupational health, and community activist groups established in Sacramento in 1985. SVTC was an early participant in the TCP, joining representatives of the Bay Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (a larger group including SCCOSH as a member), Citizens for a Better Environment, Environmental Defense Fund, California League of Conservation Voters, California Labor Federation, and the AFL-CIO.
Both Ted Smith (SVTC) and Amanda Hawes (SCCOSH) attended the TCP's First Annual Toxics Organizing Conference, held in November of 1986 in Sacramento. Starting in the spring of 1986, the TCP produced a newsletter Toxics Watchdog. While the TCP primarily served as a clearinghouse for information between activists, it also undertook its own campaigns. For example, a statewide "Toxic Use Reduction" program in the late 1980s set out to reduce potentially harmful synthetic chemicals at the point of their production and consumption, rather than simply through a safe, or safer disposal.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 21

Toxics Coordinating Project 1985-1990

Folder 1

TCP Records 1985-1990

Folder 2

Toxics Watchdog Newsletter 1986-1990

Folder 3

TCP: Ted Smith Notebook 1985-1990

 

Series XII:  SVTC, AB 2948--Tanner Bill 1986-1991

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's (SVTC) role in developing a hazardous waste management plan for Santa Clara County under the provisions of California Assembly Bill 2948, which passed in 1986. AB 2948 is also known as the "Tanner Bill", named after the chief sponsor Assemblywoman Sally Tanner. The Tanner Bill implemented countywide planning as the overarching strategy for managing hazardous waste throughout California. Included in this series is Smith's notebook from the Advisory Committee meetings, which also contains miscellaneous letters and reports exchanged between committee members.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 22

Tanner Bill 1986-1991

 

Series XIII:  SVTC, Stanford University/Biotechnology Activism 1987-1991

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition's (SVTC) dispute with Stanford University over issues related to the university's research agenda and its handling of hazardous materials, most notably a waste incinerator located in the University Medical Center. In August of 1987, SVTC appealed the permit given by the Santa Clara County Planning Commission to a new biomedical research facility on the Stanford campus, located on Serra Street off West Campus Drive. Among SVTC's motivations, the group listed Stanford's past negligence with hazardous materials, the implications for community health of new biomedical practices like genetic engineering, and the lack of a medical monitoring program for researchers and other building staff. Stanford President Donald Kennedy publicly denounced these concerns, yet agreed to delay the construction project until a full environmental review was completed. In December of 1987, an additional source of controversy opened up when a senior engineer in Stanford's Department of Health and Safety resigned, alleging longstanding health issues created by the treatment of hazardous waste at the University Medical Center. Facing negative publicity from SVTC and other community groups, combined with these internal allegations from its DOHS, Stanford conceded to a University-wide special health and safety review, which they eventually completed in the fall of 1988. The review led Stanford to create two new administrative positions: Director of Environmental Health and Safety and a Laboratory Safety Officer.
Over the three years in which Stanford and SVTC disputed these issues, Ted Smith collected detailed notes on the emerging biotechnologies like genetic engineering and their potential consequence for public health and the environment. Researching this subject and making it a part of SVTC activism brought Smith into contact with a variety of groups around the country voicing similar concerns. In January of 1989, SVTC was one of several Bay Area organizations sponsoring a two-day conference on "Creating a Public Interest in Biotechnology in California," at which the renowned environmentalist and critic of genetic engineering, Jeremy Rifkin appeared as the keynote speaker. In the early 1990s, Smith served on the steering committee of the California Biotechnology Action Council (CALBAC), based in Sacramento. Along with a record of Smith's participation in the Action Council, this series includes many newspaper clippings describing tensions between Stanford officials, Palo Alto community associations, and environmentalist groups headquartered within the Bay Area.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Box 23

Building Assessments/Environmental Reports 1987-1989

Box 24

Biotechnology Activism 1987-1991

Folder 1

SVTC Appeal to SCC Board of Supervisors 1987

Folder 2

Misc. Correspondence 1987-1990

Folder 3

Loose Notes on Stanford/Biotechnology 1987-1990

Folder 4

News Clippings 1987-1990

Folder 5

Background Information 1972-1987

Folder 6

California Biotechnology Action Council 1990-1991

 

Series XIV:  SVTC, Earth Day 1987-1993

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The contents in this series describe efforts made in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC) and other Bay area environmental groups to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons, or "CFCs," from household products and manufacturing processes in use in the region. The International Earth Day celebrations of 1989 and 1990 served as a focal point for these efforts.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by date range.
Boxes 25-26

Earth Day Task Force 1987-1993

 

Series XV:  Newspaper Articles 1987-1997

Physical Description: 1 box

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series consists of newspaper articles concerning the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC) and the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Health (SCCOSH), and environmental issues involving Silicon Valley companies. Many of the articles cover fines, civil complaints, and federal prosecution of companies based on findings by hazardous waste inspectors. News coverage of the legal case against Silicon Valley, chip board manufacturer Ztron is fetured. Ztron was found guilty of pumping hazardous waste directly into the sewer system. Other stories highlight the controversial storage practices of Lorentz Barrel and Drum Company. This company storing over 300 barrels of hazardous waste within a few blocks of the San José State University Athletics Facility.

Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically by box date range.
Boxes 27

Newspaper Articles 1985-1997