A group of former semiconductor workers is questioning the British government's choice of a research group to help conduct an investigation of cancer rates among a semiconductor plant's chip manufacturing workers, arguing the group's former ties to the semiconductor industry may make it unable to conduct unbiased research.

The workers' group, called Phase Two, said in a press release last week that they recently learned that the company contracted by the UK government to conduct the study, the Scotland-based Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), has at least one employee who has done some consulting work at a UK branch of National Semiconductor, based in California.

"Really, because of the sensitivity of the work… you should not have either a real or perceived conflict of interest," Andrew Watterson, a researcher on occupational and environmental health at the University of Stirling and an unpaid advisor to Phase Two, told The Scientist...

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