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European Commission - Announcement

Better workers' protection against cancer-causing chemicals

Brussels, 13 May 2016

The Commission proposes changes to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to limit exposure to 13 cancer-causing chemicals at the workplace. Commissioner Thyssen: "With this proposal we will save 100,000 lives in the next 50 years".

To improve protection for workers from cancer-causing chemicals, the Commission proposed changes to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to limit exposure to 13 cancer-causing chemicals at the workplace. Concretely, the Commission proposed new or amended limit values in the Directive which set a maximum concentration for the presence of a chemical carcinogen in the workplace air.

Introducing these limit values will lead to fewer cases of occupational cancer.

The number of deaths attributed to occupational cancer in the EU is reported to be around 102,000 per year.

The proposal is based on scientific evidence and follows broad discussions with scientists, employers, workers, Member States' representatives and labour inspectors.

To set these limit values for a number of carcinogens under the Directive, the Commission has initiated a scientific and economic assessment of more than 20 priority chemical agents. In the EU around 20 million workers are exposed to at least one of these chemical agents.

For the remaining chemical agents there is further preparatory work to be done and a proposal covering these will follow by end 2016.

Related Links

AC/16/2274


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