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Ciba compensates Toms River cancer victims

Ciba Specialty Chemicals agreed to pay a settlement to 69 families Keystone Archive

Families of children affected by cancer in Toms River, in the United States, are to receive unspecified payments from the Basel-based company, Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

Residents of the New Jersey town have claimed a link between the abnormally high incidence of childhood cancer in the area and the activities of Ciba, Union Carbide and the local water company, United Water Toms River.

The three companies signed an agreement last week to pay a settlement to 69 families. Ciba spokesperson Thomas Gerlach told swissinfo the sum was for “substantially less than $100 million”, and added that the company has not admitted liability.

This agreement, reached through negotiation, marks the end of a four-year battle for the families.

Between 1979 and 1995, 90 children in the area were diagnosed with cancer, an extremely high number, according to state officials.

Gerlach said Ciba had wanted resolve the situation with the families and would now continue investing in the clean-up of the site. The company has already spent $200 million on cleaning the area and plans to spend a further $93 million in the future.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR