Europe must act on cancer risks

The European Union must take action to stop the 100,000 deaths a year caused by occupational cancers, unions have said. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) also condemned the European Commission for blocking health and safety improvements and for putting forward an extremely weak health and safety strategy to run until 2020. Putting together its own plan to improve conditions for Europe’s workers, the ETUC has called for wide-ranging action. A resolution agreed by the union body says there must be legally enforceable exposure limits for 50 of the most cancer-causing chemicals and substances toxic for reproduction. The union body is highly critical of the European Commission, which it says has blocked a revision of the rules on cancer-causing and mutagenic exposures at work, so only three cancer inducing chemicals have European exposure limits. Bernadette Ségol, general secretary of the ETUC, said: “It is a scandal that 100,000 people die every year in the EU from occupational cancers, and an outrage that the Barroso Commission refused to pass any new health and safety law. I invite the new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen to take action to protect European citizens from death, disease and illness at work.”

ETUC news release, 1 December 2014 and health and safety resolution.

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