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Retrospective Exposure Assessment for Semiconductor and Storage Device Manufacturing Facilities

Rodrigues, Ema G., DSc; Stewart, James, PhD; Herrick, Robert, SD; Palacios, Helena, MS; Laden, Francine, SD; Clark, William, MS; Delzell, Elizabeth, ScD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 4 - p e132–e138
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001544

Objective: The aim of this study was to develop exposure estimates for a case–control study of central nervous system cancer in semiconductor and storage device manufacturing workers.

Methods: Over 700,000 records on sample measurements were obtained. Mean exposure intensity was estimated for 31 established/suspected carcinogens (agents of interest) in 10 primary exposure groups over three manufacturing eras. We assigned confidence ratings, based on number/type of measurements, to each estimate.

Results: Mean exposures decreased by an order of magnitude over the three manufacturing eras and were below applicable occupational exposure limits for 22 of 31 agents of interest. For 25 agents, at least 70% of the exposures were estimated with high confidence.

Conclusion: This is the largest comprehensive study of exposures in the semiconductor/storage device industry and the first to include cumulative exposure estimates and measures of confidence in the exposure estimates.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Rodrigues, Dr Stewart, Dr Herrick, Ms Palacios, Dr Laden, Mr Clark), and University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Epidemiology, Birmingham, Alabama (Dr Delzell).

Address correspondence to: Robert Herrick, SD, Harvard School of Public Health, Landmark Ctr West, 4th Fl, Rm 404E 401 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215 (

Funding for this study was provided by the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine