In a high profile new campaign, the global trade union confederation ITUC is calling for killer chemicals to be shown the door.
Sharan Burrow, the union body’s general secretary, says the chemical industry is set to grow four-fold by 2060 and warns hazardous exposures at work already claiming a million lives each year.
Writing in Hazards magazine, she warns the global industry “can get away with this because it resorts to illegal or unethical practices to bury the evidence of health risks linked to its products.” The workplace chemical exposures crisis is behind ITUC’s decision to renew its campaign to protect workers.
On International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April 2019 the union body has adopted the theme of ‘Taking control – removing dangerous substances from the workplace’, including an emphasis on a ‘Zero Cancer’ approach.
ITUC is urging reps to seek to eliminate or minimise exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and says a first of its kind ITUC at-a-glance guide to work cancers and their causes will ensure unions can identify and challenge preventable and potentially deadly exposures.
According to Burrow: “In human terms, the cost of hazardous workplace exposures is one worker death every 30 seconds.” She said prevention isn’t happening “because corporate chemistry has captured regulators, bribed obliging scientists and attacked its detractors. It is a fatal endeavour that must be stopped.”
All out! Global union confederation ITUC wants to show killer chemicals the door, Hazards magazine, number 145, April 2019.
Assez! La Confédération syndicale internationale veut en finir avec les produits chimiques dangereux.
¡Todos fuera! La Confederación Sindical Internacional (CSI) muestra la puerta a los productos químicos asesinos.
ITUC/Hazards 28 April dedicated events and resources website.
ITUC 28 April webpages in English, French and Spanish.
28 April ITUC ‘Chemical reaction’ poster in English, French and Spanish.
Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish.