Chemical firm charged over cancer deaths

Sixteen former managers at chemical firm Solvay have been charged with manslaughter by magistrates in the Italian court of Ferrara. The prosecution claimed that unsafe working practices in the 1970s-90s at a plant producing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) may have caused cancer resulting in the deaths of 57 workers. A coroner's report is due in the autumn. This is the latest in a series of similar court cases in Italy - last November managers at Enichem were cleared of manslaughter charges in a trial dealing with 157 deaths near its Venice factory (EED 05/11/01).

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