The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) formed in 1982 in response to discovery of groundwater contamination throughout Santa Clara, California (Silicon Valley) near high-tech manufacturing facilities. Though the industry seemed “clean,” toxic chemicals leaked out of underground storage tanks. In 1982, a Fairchild computer chip factory exposed more than 100,000 homes in San Jose to toxic solvents. Workers in these facilities were also exposed to hazardous chemicals on the job. And when hundreds of people inside and outside the factories began developing cancer, reproductive problems, and other illnesses, they banded together to
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition drew together high-tech workers, community members, law enforcement, emergency workers and environmentalists. The Coalition pushed for legislation that informed the community of dangerous chemicals used in high-tech factories and monitored contamination of the area. SVTC successfully ushered in the nation’s first legislation for monitoring underground chemical storage tanks. The bill first passed in Santa Clara County, CA, leading to similar bills in the State of California and then at the federal level.
As Silicon Valley residents learned more about high-tech pollution, SVTC played a leading role in uniting communities to demand cleanup. The Coalition helped move the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene and identify 29 Santa Clara County areas as Superfund sites needing immediate action. This constituted the largest concentration of Superfund sites in the
Since its formation, SVTC has directed research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to address the effects of the production, use and disposal of electronic products on human health and our environment. SVTC has played a leading role in holding the high-tech industry accountable and
shifting it towards toxin-free, recyclable products, strong worker and community protections, and green technological innovations.