SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – A new report has found that female semiconductor workers in South Korea are nearly two and a half times more likely to develop leukemia than workers in other occupations.
The worrying revelation comes as data released by the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency shows that female workers in the semiconductor manufacturing industry are exposed to a risk of leukemia twice as high as others such as civil servants and private school staff.
The report was based on a cohort analysis provided by Yonsei University’s Industry Foundation, which looked at patterns of disease incidence among people in different fields of work to identify the main cause of illness.
Using worker medical records compiled by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) between 2002 and 2015, the researchers were able to run comparisons between those who had worked in the semiconductor industry and those who hadn’t during the period.
Though little difference was recorded with regard to cancer and multiple sclerosis, statistically speaking, it was discovered that female workers at semiconductor plants faced a much higher risk of leukemia than others.
The report also found that both male and female medical staff members were more likely to develop spinal disc herniation, a type of spinal lesion. The chances of developing the spinal lesion for workers in the health industry were 1.39 times higher than individuals in a different line of work, while the chances were even higher for their female counterparts.
Both male and female workers in the health sector also faced higher odds of developing depression, as the data from the NHIS showed male workers were nearly three times more likely to suffer from depression, while female workers faced 180 percent higher chances.
Tire manufacturing plants were identified as high-risk work sites, as male workers had on average 135 percent higher chances of developing gastric cancer and 141 percent higher chances of suffering from high blood pressure.
The researchers, however, warn that the cause and effect of the findings have yet to be clearly identified due to the impossible nature of measuring each individual’s exposure levels to harmful factors.
Findings from this year’s epidemiological survey can be viewed on the official website of the NHIS.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)