The Council gave its final green light to the amendment of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. The aim is to improve the protection of workers by setting exposure limits for acrylonitrile and nickel compounds and by lowering the existing limits for benzene.
According to Commission data, more than one million workers are exposed to acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene, and 52% of occupational deaths in the EU each year are due to cancer.
The directive will also provide greater protection against reprotoxic chemicals, which were previously covered by different legislation. It will incorporate limit values for 12 reprotoxic substances that will be transferred and will be renamed to the Carcinogens and Reprotoxics Directive.
Health professionals working with carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic medicinal products, which are classified as dangerous, will receive better training on how to handle them safely. The new legislation requires the Commission to publish guidelines on training, monitoring and follow-up for these products.
Under the revised directive, the Commission must present, by 31 December 2022 at the latest, an action plan to achieve new or revised occupational exposure limit values for at least 25 substances, groups of substances or substances produced by processes and, where appropriate, make legislative proposals.
Member States have two years from today’s adoption to comply with the agreed changes.