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Research Indicates No Increased Cancer Risk at Greenock Factory

Aug 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 - Workers at a Scottish semi-conductor plant are not at increased risk of developing occupational cancers, new research suggests.

An independent investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) has concluded that earlier concerns about occupational cancer at the National Semiconductors UK (NSUK) factory in Greenock were unfounded.

The study follows on from a report in 2001, published by HSE, which found that although the overall number of cancers in the workforce was not unusual there was a possibility that some could have been caused by work.

The new research updated the earlier study and also looked particularly at the work done by women with lung, breast and stomach cancer and men with brain cancer. It found that the number of employees with cancer is within the range expected for a workforce of a similar age and background. This was also true for each of the individual types of cancer studied.

The research failed to find any notable differences between the work done by women with breast cancer and their colleagues. It did not produce any important new results concerning work done by people with lung stomach and brain cancer.

Co-author of the report HSE's chief medical adviser and head of epidemiology, Dr John Osman said:

"While we cannot use this type of research to prove that any workplace is completely safe, I am satisfied the findings do not indicate that NSUK staff face an increased risk of developing occupational cancer.

"This is an independent, robust piece of scientific research and we have taken our responsibilities to the workforce very seriously. The research does not establish a link between cancer and employment at NSUK.

"I hope both present and former employees will find some comfort in these results. They have waited patiently to discover the outcome of this research and I hope this report offers some clarity and reassurance."

In light of the findings, HSE said there are no plans for further research at NSUK although it will continue to monitor health and safety in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and will issue advice if it finds new areas of concern."

The research report and supporting documents are available from HSE online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/nsuk/index.htm [1]

Anyone affected by the findings can contact the research team free on 0800 592450

Notes to editors:
In 2001, HSE published the results of research into concerns about a link between developing cancer and working at NSUK in Greenock. Because the findings were not conclusive, HSE, NSUK and the workforce agreed to a further study, updating the previous research and looking particularly at the work done by women who had developed lung, breast and stomach cancer and men who had developed brain cancer. The leaflet and report of the 2001 study will be available at:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/nsuk/leaflet2001.pdf [2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/nsuk/report2001.pdf [3]

About the Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk [4]