The Commission has proposed Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Values (BOELs) on acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene as part of an update to its Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD). It means new or updated limits have now been placed on 27 carcinogens since 2014.
However, the Europe-wide trade union body ETUC expressed concern that “no action has been taken to limit exposure levels to 20 more cancer-causing substances, while existing exposure limits for common workplace carcinogens like crystalline silica, diesel emissions and asbestos do not offer sufficient protection and urgently need to be updated.”
ETUC said its objective is to have at least 50 priority carcinogens with BOELs under the CMD by 2024. ETUC deputy general secretary Per Hilmersson said: “No one should be placed at risk of cancer when they go to work. New EU limits on three cancer-causing substances is a step in the right direction, but too little at a time when 100,000 people die of work-related cancer every year.”
He added: “It is clearly unacceptable that workers still have no protections from 20 high risk substances, so the Commission must continue updating the legislation to ensure there are exposure limits on all of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances.”