RCA came to Taiwan in 1969 to produce electronic parts for televisions, employing more than 30,000 people at its peak production. Most of them on the production line were women from poor families.
The US company was found to have dumped toxic waste at its Taoyuan factory in northern Taiwan polluting the soil and underground water, leading to alarmingly high reports of cancer among its workers.
Workers were required to use organic solvents including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene to clean printed circuit boards. Both are classified as Group 2A carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which means that they are probably carcinogenic to humans. These agents enter the body through inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion.
Without any warning or training from RCA, the workers breathed the volatile solvents in the air of the factory which had almost no ventilation and touched the chemicals with their hands that were only covered with cotton gloves in the manufacturing process.
Workers living in the factory dormitories also used untreated water pumped from the same ground where RCA had dumped waste solvents, for drinking, washing up, and laundry.
In 1998, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration confirmed that the area where the plant located was designated a permanently polluted zone, the first case of its kind in this country.
Litigation continued until the late 2010s. As reported in October 2017, “a ruling by the Taiwan High Court in favor of RCA workers whose health was affected by industrial pollution is a victory, not only for RCA workers but for Taiwanese labor overall. A landmark case in Taiwanese labor, the case is also a case with few precedents in Taiwanese jurisprudence, as a class action lawsuit with hundreds of plaintiffs. Subsequently, it remains to be seen what will come next for efforts to secure justice for RCA workers. RCA employed thousands of workers in Taiwan between 1970 and 1992, through a Taiwanese subsidiary of the American company, the Radio Corporation of America. However, industrial pollution from the RCA plant in Taoyuan led to 78 deaths caused by the pollution, and 237 of the 529 workers involved in the case developed cancer or related illnesses. In part, the reason as to why the case would become so well known is because it involves an American company whose actions permanently damaged the health of Taiwanese workers. Based on environmental assessments previously conducted by RCA, many believe that RCA was aware of the pollution but did nothing about it.”
 Brian Hioe, 29 Oct. 2017. https://newbloommag.net/2017/10/29/rca-ruling-second-hearing/