Stricter EU rules on hazardous substances exposure in the workplace

The European Parliament has published the new legislative resolution for the protection of workers from the exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins. This updated law entails a significant strengthening for workers’ protection against hazardous substances in the workplace, setting EU-wide occupational exposure limits.

Reprotoxic substances, which are harmful to reproduction and can cause impaired fertility or infertility, have been included within the scope of the Directive on limiting workers’ exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances for the first time. As stated in the new agreement, healthcare workers dealing with hazardous medicinal products (half of which are reprotoxic) must receive sufficient and appropriate training on how to handle them safely. In addition, the text calls for the establishment of an indicative list of HMPs by the end of 2022. The occupational exposure limits for acrylonitrile and nickel compounds are provided, and the maximum limit for benzene has been revised. Also, a reduction of occupational exposure limit to crystalline silica dust, which has been associated with elevated rates of lung cancer and silicosis, is requested in the text.

After Council’s approval, this Directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member states will have two years to transpose the directive after its entering into force.

Read more about it here.

In the January 2022 issue of the EuChemS Brussels News Updates (BNU) newsletter, we informed you about the provisional agreement reached by the EU Council and the European Parliament to update the carcinogens and mutagens Directive. Find out more about it here.

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