Union calls for action over cancer risks in chip industry

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computer industryThe Amicus manufacturing trade union has called for an inquiry into cancer risks in the computer and semiconductor manufacturing industries following new evidence from the US.

The US study by Dr Richard Clapp of Boston University found what it called “'significantly greater” cancer deaths amongst workers in the computer and semiconductor manufacturing industry than expected based on the national average

Amicus has called on the health and safety agencies in the UK as well as companies to act to reduce the risks for workers.

“Government health and safety agencies and employers must act urgently to reduce this risk to stop more people dying in years to come,” said Peter Skyte, Amicus National Officer.

Amicus has called on the computer components and semiconductor industries to initiate industry wide research into cancer risks in the industry, and in particular to institute the research proposed by the HSE/DTI Feasibility study published in 2005.

“The US study provides powerful evidence of the increased health risks faced by past and present workers in the computer, chip and semiconductor industry,” said Skyte.

The UK computer components/semiconductor industry to identify the health hazards involved in their work and take urgent steps to remove toxic agents or control them to the lowest level possible.

He also wants the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate cancer risks in the UK computer components/semiconductor industry, and also for a review of the control of toxic substances in the UK computer components/semiconductor industry.

According to Amicus, there are a variety of exposures to chemicals, metals (especially arsenic, nickel and chromium), and electromagnetic fields such as ultraviolet light, radiofrequency and x-ray radiation in computer and semiconductor manufacturing.

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