Where's that SIA cancer study?


For nearly five years, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) says it has been trying to determine whether there is concrete evidence of increased cancer risk for people working in cleanrooms.

The SIA even goes as far to say that data is insufficient, and the information does not conclude whether exposure to chemicals or other hazardous materials has or has not proliferated cancer cases.

For too long, this has been an accepted answer from a trade association representing certain companies that have been trying to avoid being responsible for the health and well-being of their employees. Why else would attorneys for IBM Corp. work so hard at keeping the jury from hearing what is undoubtedly damaging testimony in the ongoing cleanroom cancer case?

SIA, along with many industry players, are stalling—sitting back on their ever-swelling laurels, as fab after fab is built—dismissing the leaking underground storage tanks, chemical plumes, birth defects, miscarriages and cancer rates that shatter national averages.

Contamination-control experts and cleanroom end users alike must ask themselves just how valuable a study, if it ever materializes, will be coming from an organization that is biased and has failed to take quick, corrective actions.

The data is insurmountable, and it isn't a question of whether a cancer study is feasible. It is a matter of who can conduct the study comprehensively and fairly with the ultimate goal of preventing this from ever happening again.

Mark A. DeSorbo
Associate Editor