Manufacturing union Amicus has called for an inquiry into cancer risks in the computer and semiconductor manufacturing industry following new evidence from the US.
A study by Richard Clapp of Boston University looking at death records of men and women who had worked for IBM in the US found “significantly greater” cancer deaths than expected based on the national average.
Taken with previous studies covering Scotland and the West Midlands, Amicus believes there is sufficient evidence to suggest long-term health risks to current and former workers in the semiconductor, chip and computer sector.
Amicus national officer Peter Skyte said, “This US study provides powerful evidence of the increased health risks faced by past and present workers in the computer, chip and semiconductor industry. Government health and safety agencies and employers must act urgently to reduce this risk to stop more people dying in years to come.”
Amicus is calling for:
• The UK computer components/semiconductor industry 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 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.
• Action by the Health and Safety Executive to investigate cancer risks in the UK computer components/semiconductor industry.
• Action by the Health and Safety Commission to urgently review the control of toxic substances in the UK computer components/semiconductor industry.
• Action by union safety representatives to require employers to reduce health risks.
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