FROM: Karyn Sinunu, Assistant District Attorney CONTACT PERSON:
John Fioretta, Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection Unit
(408) 792-2638 For Immediate Release on April 1, 2002 On March 29, 2002 Superior Court Judge Joseph Huber fined Siliconix Incorporated $76,800 in fines, fees, and penalty assessments for negligently releasing an air contaminant and failing to report the release. Judge Huber previously sentenced George Breein, a company official, to 120 hours of community service work and total fines of $2,900 for failing to report the same release. The case arose on October 3, 2000 when Siliconix personnel left a valve open that released Trichlorosilane, which overwhelmed the scrubber system. The Trichlorosilane converted into Hydrogen Chloride, a moderately corrosive and toxic gas. Both substances are hazardous materials. As a result, a cloud was released into the atmosphere and five workers were sent to the hospital. Two vomited and the others experienced coughing, headache or itchiness. All have recovered. Siliconix is a semiconductor company located in the City of Santa Clara. Breein is Siliconix’s Director of Facility Engineering, Plant Services and Health and Safety. The case was investigated by the Santa Clara Fire Department and prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.