Gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium arsenide (InAs), and aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs) are semiconductor applications. Although the increased use of these materials has raised concerns about occupational exposure to them, there is little information regarding the adverse health effects to workers arising from exposure to these particles. However, available data indicate these semiconductor materials can be toxic in animals. Although acute and chronic toxicity of the lung, reproductive organs, and kidney are associated with exposure to these semiconductor materials, in particular, chronic toxicity should pay much attention owing to low solubility of these materials. Between InAs, GaAs, and AlGaAs, InAs was the most toxic material to the lung followed by GaAs and AlGaAs when given intratracheally. This was probably due to difference in the toxicity of the counter-element of arsenic in semiconductor materials, such as indium, gallium, or aluminium, and not arsenic itself. It appeared that indium, gallium, or aluminium was toxic when released from the particles, though the physical character of the particles also contributes to toxic effect. Although there is no evidence of the carcinogenicity of InAs or AlGaAs, GaAs and InP, which are semiconductor materials, showed the clear evidence of carcinogenic potential. It is necessary to pay much greater attention to the human exposure of semiconductor materials.
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