Imagine a killer that strikes more than once every minute. Most of these deaths could be stopped with minimal effort, but preventive measures are being blocked. Well, warns ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, that killer is occupational cancer and a mixture of toxic marketing and regulatory failure has already condemned another generation to an early grave.
Occupational cancer isn’t a mystery disease. There’s decades of evidence about the causes, and enough early warnings to avoid introducing a new generation of killers. But instead of prevention, we are facing a toxic cocktail of denial and deceit that means more people than at any time in history will develop tumours caused by their job. The reason is as straightforward as it is shocking. As long as there’s money to be made, industry will retain its fatal attachment to some of the most potent killers in history.
A new ITUC guide, ‘Toxic work – stop deadly exposures today’, sets out why we want to remove toxic exposures from the workplace and how. At the centre of the union strategy is active, union-supported workforce participation, in finding problems and implementing solutions. And a ITUC-supported workplace cancer website, www.cancerhazards.org, now provides union representatives with the latest news on occupational cancer, including emerging scientific evidence and union initiatives to combat this workplace scourge.