Objective The Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute (OSHRI) established a cohort consisting of workers in six semiconductor-manufacturing companies to determine cancer incidence. The data gathered until 2014 revealed that 43 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) cases occurred. This study aimed to identify the characteristics of these cases.
Methods In 2008, OSHRI established a cohort based on company personnel records and national cancer registration data that could be obtained from Statistics Korea on former and current workers of six semiconductor-manufacturing factories in South Korea since 1998. This study analysed the characteristics of NHL cases that occurred in this cohort.
Results In the cohort, 43 NHL cases occurred. Of those cases, 23 were men and 20 were women. The highest incidence of 20 cases occurred in the workers in their 30 s. The years 1995–1999 and 2000–2004 were the most common time periods for entry into the company with 11 and 10 cases, respectively. The types of occupations included: 33 manufacturing workers, 7 non-manufacturing workers, and 3 who could not be precisely categorised.
Conclusion Although NHL as an illness that is known to occur at a relatively old age, the prevalence of NHL among former and current semiconductor workers, occurring at a younger working age, may suggest causality based on occupation. As such, identifying their demographic characteristics is a necessary step towards identifying the occupational hazards in the semiconductor industry and the risk factors for development of NHL.