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National Semiconductor: U.K. Study Finds no Scientific Evidence of Work-Related Cancers in Employees at Scotland Facility

Dec 11, 2001

December 11, 2001 - The U.K. Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found "there is no proof that working at National Semiconductor in Greenock has caused an increased risk of employees developing cancer."

The HSE initiated the cancer-registry study in November 1999 to evaluate cancer rates of current and former employees of National's manufacturing facility in Greenock, Scotland. 
Compared with the population in Scotland, researchers determined overall cancer rates for employees who worked at National's facility were average, and death rates were below average.

"We are relieved the HSE indicated there is no scientific evidence of increased cancer risk for employees working at our facility.  Regardless, we pledge our support to cooperate fully in further investigation," said Gerry Edwards, vice president and managing director of National's facility in Greenock.  "We have an excellent health and safety record and remain committed to maintaining a standard that ensures continual improvement in our performance."

The HSE did have one statistically significant finding -lung cancer among women who worked at the Greenock plant (11 cases out of 2,262 women surveyed).  Investigators indicated the cause is most likely not work related.  The cases could, for example, be attributed to smoking, which is known to cause up to 90 percent of lung cancers.

In its report, the HSE also found several cases of stomach, brain and breast cancer; however, these were not statistically significant.  Since the overall sample size was limited (4,500 people), even one or two incidents of cancer may affect the study outcome.  Industry watchers had criticized the study design and admitted the total number of individuals participating in the research was too small to be statistically valid.  HSE investigators recommended further study, and National will cooperate in the effort.

National uses chemicals in a highly controlled environment.  The company has continuous air and industrial hygiene monitoring, exhaust ventilation systems, employee training in environmental, health and safety and provides personal protective equipment for employees working with chemicals.

In the past year, National's facility in Greenock has won awards acknowledging its health and safety practices including the British Safety Council's "Sword of Honour" and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) "Gold Award."

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor is the premier analog company driving the information age. Combining real-world analog and state-of-the-art digital technology, the company is focused on the fast growing markets for wireless handsets; information appliances; information infrastructure; and display, imaging and human interface technologies. With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $2.1 billion for fiscal year 2001 and employs about 9,800 people worldwide.  Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at www.national.com