Feeds

Union blasts chip industry's 'cancer risk denial'

Semiconductor bosses say no need for UK-wide study

Boost IT visibility and business value

The UK’s largest trade union has slammed the semiconductor industry after it told the British government that a national study to look into the effects of work-related cancer in the chip biz was unnecessary.

Unite said today that it was perplexed by senior bosses at chip firms who insist that there was “no clear evidence” that show people working in their plants were dangerously exposed to health risks.

According to the union, the semiconductor industry said it “does not accept there is a need to conduct an industry-wide study".

Health and Safety Minister Lord McKenzie had written to key execs in the semiconductor industry to raise some of the concerns expressed by Unite.

The union has been pushing for industry-wide research into cancer risks in the computer and semiconductor manufacturing industry since the publication of the HSE/DTI Feasibility study in 2005.

Unite national officer Peter Skyte said in a statement: "This is in our view an Alice in Wonderland approach. It is precisely because there is no clear evidence that we, the government and the HSE see the need for a national study.

“If there were compelling evidence of an increased risk of occupational cancer, there would not be a need for the study.”

In October 2006 a study of workers at computer plants in the US highlighted an “elevated” chance of contracting and dying of cancer.

Research conducted by US academic Richard Clapp and published in Environmental Health, covered 31,941 individuals who died between 1969 and 2001, and who had spent five years or more working in computer or semiconductor manufacturing plants.

The study found death rates for all cancers were elevated in both males and females who had worked in computer plants. The data Clapp used was produced during a US lawsuit in which IBM was sued by former plant workers.

Last November AMD was hit by a birth defects lawsuit from an ex-employee who worked at one of the firm's fab plants. She claimed that exposure to hazardous chemicals during pregnancy had caused multiple birth defects in her son.

At the time AMD responded to the accusation by saying: "We take the health and safety of our employees very seriously. We have a long history of supporting independent research on health and safety in semiconductor manufacturing and are confident in our systems and procedures."

We requested comment from AMD and Intel, but neither was immediately available at time of writing. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.