Cancer and reproductive risks in the semiconductor industry

Int J Occup Environ Health. 2007 Oct-Dec;13(4):376-85. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2007.13.4.376.


Although many reproductive toxicants and carcinogens are used in the manufacture of semiconductor chips, and worrisome findings have been reported, no broad epidemiologic study has been conducted to define possible risks in a comprehensive way. With few exceptions, the American semiconductor industry has not supported access for independent studies. Older technologies are exported to newly industrialized countries as newer technologies are installed in Japan, the United States, and Europe. Thus there is particular concern about the many workers, mostly in countries that are still industrializing, who have jobs that use chemicals, technologies, and equipment that are no longer in use in developed countries. Since most countries lack cancer registries and have inadequate reproductive and cancer reporting mechanisms, industry efforts to control exposures to carcinogens are of particular importance. Government agencies, the courts, industry, publishers, and academia, on occasion, collude to ignore or to downplay the importance of occupational diseases. Examples of how this happens in the semiconductor industry are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Female
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Semiconductors / adverse effects*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hazardous Substances