Feeds

Chip biz to fund independent cancer study

Five-year probe into hazards of working in fabs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The next step in data security

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is planning to commission an independent study into whether working in a US chip fab increases employees risk of contracting cancer.

The organisation, which represents US chip makers, is currently asking interested parties to submit tenders for the research contract with a view to commencing the study in March next year.

The SIA expects the project to take up to five years to complete. Whatever the duration, the organisation hopes that the study will lay to rest claims that working in fabs can be hazardous to your health.

It's the second time the SIA has probed the issue. In 1999, it set up an independent committee of experts to assess the risk. Some 18 months later, the panel concluded that on the face of it there was no evidence to suggest unequivocally an increased risk of cancer among fab workers. However, it also said that it didn't have sufficient data to investigate potential links between levels of exposure to chemicals and cancer risk.

The upcoming study is an attempt to perform such an investigation, after a Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health review of the data revealed there is sufficient medical information for the investigation to be scientifically meaningful.

According to the SIA, its study will focus on medical data from more than 200,000 people who worked in the chip industry between 1960 and the present.

In February 2004, IBM won a case brought against it by two former workers - Alida Hernandez and James Moore - at its Cottle Road, San Jose hard drive plant. The ex-employees alleged that their cancers had arisen from their exposure to hazardous substances at the plant, and that IBM should have warned them about the risk, which it knew about, they said. The jury, however, unanimously sided with Big Blue.

IBM still faces cases brought against it in New York and Minnesota from former fab employees who have made similar allegations as those levelled by Hernandez and Moore.

IBM mortality records put before the New York court were used as the basis of a controversial report written by Richard Clapp and Rebecca Johnson of Boston University and originally scheduled for publication in the US journal Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The journal's published, Reed Elsevier, pulled the paper, proposed by the guest editor, Dr Joe LaDou of the University of California's San Francisco campus. Reed Elsevier and IBM have denied claims made by LaDou that they conspired to block publication of the research report.

IBM subsequently said that court had not sanctioned the public distribution of its records, and that the report's conclusions were questionable since both Clapp and Johnson had appeared as expert witnesses on behalf of the plaintiffs. ®

Related stories

IBM denies spiking fab cancer study
IBM settles 'poisoned' workers' cancer claims
IBM not guilty of knowingly poisoning workers
IBM 'poisoning workers' case goes to trial
IBM accused of poisoning workers
Toxic PCs destroy life as we know it
Workers make cancer claims in NatSemi job cuts factory

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.