MALTA — Doctors for a local engineer are backing his claim that he developed an uncommon and potentially deadly disease while working at GlobalFoundries’ Malta facility.
Timothy Rizzo, 40, of Johnstown, filed a federal lawsuit last year against GlobalFoundries and Applied Materials claiming he contracted Wegener’s disease following exposure to a mix of toxins while installing chip manufacturing equipment at the Fab 8 chip factory in 2012, according to the Times Union.
Lawyers for GlobalFoundries and Applied Materials, which provides equipment and support for semiconductor chip manufacturing, claimed in a letter filed this September that its medical team determined Rizzo acquired the disease prior to working at the plant, but two area doctors are now rebutting those claims, the Times Union said.
Dr. Robert S. Wang and Dr. Steven Parnes have either treated or reviewed Rizzo’s medical history and found he developed the disease after exposure to a mix of chemicals and gas, including trichloroethylene, or TCE, and nanosilica particles, the Times Union said.
“Simply, I believe Mr. Rizzo became sick because of his exposure to nanosilica and TCE at GlobalFoundries,” Wang wrote in an Oct. 31 letter submitted as part of the case, the Times Union reported.
Rizzo declined to comment to the Times Union, as did GlobalFoundries.
Wegener’s also is known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis. It causes inflammation of the blood vessels in the nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys, and can be fatal if left untreated. Rizzo has experienced coughing, nose bleeds, joint swelling, vision problems and kidney failure, according to the Times Union.
The cause of granulomatosis with polyangiitis is unknown, though it’s believed to develop following an infection or inflammation that triggers an abnormal reaction by the immune system.
Rizzo worked for M+W U.S., the Albany firm that oversaw construction of Fab 8, and later worked at Applied Materials and subcontractor AM Technical Solutions installing manufacturing equipment at the plant.
Click here to read the full Times Union report.