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Original research
Case–control study of brain and other central nervous system cancer among workers at semiconductor and storage device manufacturing facilities


Objective This study evaluated the relationship between brain and other central nervous system cancer (‘CNS cancer’) and exposures at two semiconductor and electronic module manufacturing facilities and at a storage device manufacturing facility.

Methods The case–control study, nested in a cohort of 126 836 employees, compared 120 CNS cancer cases and 1028 matched controls with respect to employment in 10 process groups and estimated cumulative exposure to 31 known or possible carcinogens.

Results CNS cancer was associated with module manufacturing operations at two facilities. Module manufacturing is a process that begins with production of ceramic substrates followed by attachment of completed semiconductor chips and metal-containing circuitry resulting in a high performing electronic device. Positive associations with the highest tertile of estimated cumulative exposure were found for several chemicals, including 2-butoxyethanol, cyclohexanone, ortho-dichlorobenzene, cadmium, molybdenum, trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride.

Conclusions Results suggested positive associations between CNS cancer and specific operations and chemicals experienced in the semiconductor and electronic module manufacturing industry. However, lack of external support for these findings precludes a causal interpretation, and the observed associations may have been due to chance.

  • central nervous system neoplasms
  • occupational exposure
  • manufacturing and industrial facilities
  • case-control studies
  • computer storage devices

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