The European Parliament, Council and Commission have this week reached a provisional agreement on the Commission's third proposal to broaden the list of recognised carcinogenic chemicals in the workplace.
Under the agreement, five additional carcinogenic chemicals will be covered by the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, including formaldehyde and beryllium used in laboratories. The remaining three carcinogenic chemical agents included under the agreement are cadmium, arsenic acid and 4,4'-methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline). The provisional agreement will set new exposure limits, which are in line with scientific and technical data, and evidenced-based practices for measuring exposure levels in the workplace.
Cancer is currently the leading cause of work-related mortality in the European Union (EU), accounting for 53 per cent of such deaths. It is expected that once implemented, the agreement will improve working conditions for over 1 million workers in the EU and prevent over 22,000 cases of work-related illness.
The agreement will now be submitted to the European Council's Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) for approval. Once the agreement is approved by Member States, it will be subject to a final vote by the European Parliament.