Top work cancer risks in Europe identified

A major survey of work-related cancer risk factors has identified the top cancer causing chemical exposures at work.

Initial results of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU OSHA) workers’ exposure survey on cancer risk factors (WES) found 20 per cent of EU workers are exposed to diesel engine exhaust emissions, 13 per cent to benzene, 8.4 per cent to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and 6.4 per cent to formaldehyde.

EU OSHA said results from WES are expected to affect future amendment proposals to the carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic substances directive (CMRD), which might include new or stricter occupational exposure limits for substances that pose a high risk to workers.

The agency is releasing the survey results in phases, with a final assessment of exposure to 24 cancer risk factors due in 2024.

EU OSHA says solar UV radiation just tops the list of occupational cancer risks at work, with 20.8 per cent of workers affected.


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