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March 28, 2022

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Chemical hazards

EU amends current law to strengthen protection of workers from hazardous substances

The Council of the EU has approved the amendment of the carcinogens and mutagens directive, an EU law to protect workers from risks related to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic substances.

hazardousThe Council claims the revision will improve workers’ protection by setting exposure limits for acrylonitrile and nickel compounds and lowering existing limits of benzene.

The directive will from now on also offer increased protection against reprotoxic substances, chemicals which may interfere with the human reproductive systems. These substances were previously dealt with under a different law.

According to European Commission data, more than one million workers are exposed to acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene, with 52% of occupational deaths in the EU each year being caused by cancer.

Reprotoxic substances

The limit of values for 12 reprotoxic substances that are currently dealt with under another EU law will be transferred to the stricter carcinogens and mutagens directive. The directive will therefore be renamed the carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic substances directive, or CMRD.

Hazardous medicinal products

Healthcare workers who deal with carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic drugs, so called hazardous medicinal products, will receive better training on how to handle them safely. The new law stipulates that the Commission must issue guidelines on training, surveillance and monitoring of these products.

Action plan

According to the revised directive, the Commission has been tasked to present an action plan to achieve new or revised occupational exposure limits values for at least 25 substances, groups of substances or process-generated substances no later than December 2022, and present legislative proposals where appropriate.

Next steps

Member states have two years following the adoption date (3 March 2022) to comply with the agreed changes.

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robert dickson
robert dickson
1 year ago

UK is not in the EU

Ian Hart
Ian Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  robert dickson

Hi Robert. Thanks for the comment. The article doesn’t specify that it is. SHP is not a UK-only platform and we have readership that require information and news beyond the UK.