Determined to improve workers’ health and safety, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament reached a provisional compromise on 14 November to lower the limit values for lead and, for the first time, to set limit values for diisocyanates:
- Lead: the occupational exposure limit value will be reduced from 0.15 mg/m3 to 0.03 mg/m3 and the biological limit value from 70 µg/100 ml to 15 µg/100 ml.
- Diisocyanates: the general occupational exposure limit value is set at 6 µg NCO/m3 (i.e. the maximum concentration in the air breathed by a worker over an eight-hour working day) and 12 µg NCO/m3 for average exposure over 15 minutes.
The compromise also provides for a transitional period (until 31 December 2028) for the new biological limit value for lead. There are also special provisions for women of childbearing age and medical surveillance measures for workers who already have high blood lead levels due to past exposure.
Once the formal stages of adoption have been completed, Member States will have two years to incorporate the provisions of the Directive into their national legislation.