Limits on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work: Fourth proposal [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nicole Scholz (1st edition),

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The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC, by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing chemical agents. The initiative is proceeding in steps and has now become a continuous process. Following on from three previous legislative amendments, which covered a total of 26 priority chemical agents, the present (fourth) proposal addresses an additional three.

The proposal was announced as one of the first measures of the Commission’s commitment to fight cancer under the forthcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer plan.

Broad discussions with scientists and social partners fed into all four proposals. The Commission’s feedback period on the proposal will run until 20 November 2020. While broadly welcoming the proposal, professional organisations, trade unions and patient groups would like carcinogenic and mutagenic hazardous medicines as well as substances toxic for reproduction to be brought within the scope of the current proposal.

The legislative process is in its early stages. In Parliament, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs is in charge of the file. The working party on social questions is dealing with it in the Council.


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