SIA seeks proposals for study of fab worker health


SAN JOSE, Calif.—Following through on a vow made this spring, (see CleanRooms May 2004, pg. 1), the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is seeking proposals from investigators for an independent epidemiological study of U.S. semiconductor fab workers. The SIA had announced earlier this year that it hoped to select a contractor by December.

The request for proposals (RFP) is being solicited from universities, laboratories and government agencies, with the study to focus on the assessment of cancer risk among fab workers from the late 1960s to the present.

SIA president George Scalise says the study "will be one of the largest industry-sponsored epidemiological studies ever undertaken," reviewing data on more than 200,000 fab workers over the last several decades. The SIA contracted with Johns Hopkins University researchers to conduct a feasibility study of whether sufficient evidence existed to pursue the epidemiological investigation, and in March, lead researcher Dr. Genevieve Matanowski reported that there was "sufficient, reliable and relevant data."

The three primary points of the forthcoming study are: compare the risks for cancer of all workers in the semiconductor industry to those of the U.S. population; compare the risks for cancer of fab workers to those of non-fab workers; and identify subgroups of fab workers with varying exposures to chemicals and hazardous materials, then compare these risks between groups and with non-fab workers.

Johns Hopkins researchers believe such a study will take up to five years to complete, and the SIA is hopeful that its research team will be in place by early next year.