Saf Health Work.  2011 Jun;2(2):135-147.

Cancer Mortality and Incidence in Korean Semiconductor Workers

Affiliations
  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea. toxneuro@kosha.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The purpose
of this study was to evaluate cancer risks in the Korean semiconductor industry.
METHODS
A retrospective cohort study was performed in eight semiconductor factories between 1998 and 2008. The number of subjects was 113,443 for mortality and 108,443 for incidence. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated.
RESULTS
The SMR of leukemia was 0.39 (95% Confidence Interval 0.08-1.14) in males (2 cases) and 1.37 (0.55-2.81) in females (7 cases). The SMR of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) was 1.33 (0.43-3.09, 5 cases) in males and 2.5 (0.68-6.40, 4 cases) in females. The SIR of leukemia was 0.69 (0.30-1.37, 8 cases) in males and 1.28 (0.61-2.36, 10 cases) in females. The SIR of NHL in females was 2.31 (1.23-3.95, 13 cases) and that of thyroid cancer in males was 2.11 (1.49-2.89, 38 cases). The excess incidence of NHL was significant in female assembly operators [SIR=3.15 (1.02-7.36, 5 cases)], but not significant in fabrication workers. The SIR of NHL in the group working for 1-5 years was higher than the SIR of NHL for those working for more than five years. The excess incidence of male thyroid cancer was observed in both office and manufacturing workers.
CONCLUSION
There was no significant increase of leukemia in the Korean semiconductor industry. However, the incidence of NHL in females and thyroid cancer in males were significantly increased even though there was no definite association between work and those diseases in subgroup analysis according to work duration. This result should be interpreted cautiously, because the majority of the cohort was young and the number of cases was small.

Keyword

Semiconductors; Leukemia; Lymphoma; Cancer; Cohort studies
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