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S&D Euro MPs secure new deal to strengthen the protection of Europeans’ health in the workplace


Social Europe & Jobs
Today, negotiators of the European Parliament, the Commission and the EU member states reached an agreement to protect Europeans from the exposure to an additional five carcinogenic or mutagenic substances in the workplace.
S&D Group negotiator on the carcinogens and mutagens file Marita Ulvskog MEP stated:
“I am pleased that we succeeded in updating, for the third time in the last 5 years, the rules on carcinogens and mutagens. This is a big victory for our Group and the European Parliament after 10 years of paralysis under the Barroso Commission.
“The new rules are expected to improve the health of over 1 million workers and prevent over 22,000 cases of work-related illness.
“With this new agreement, the European Parliament has put workers’ health and safety in the workplace at top of its priorities. This is good news for the millions of workers concerned across Europe.”
S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs Agnes Jongerius MEP added:
"These new rules will affect millions of workers employed in the construction, wood-related industries, the paper and chemical industries. Workers building our houses, making our clothes and shoes or producing our electronic devices will also be protected.
"These rules close the string of revisions in this parliamentary term. We hope that the next Commission will follow the footsteps of its predecessor and continue with the regular update of the Directive in order to protect workers and eliminate their exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances.
"Ensuring decent and safe working conditions is a top priority of the Socialists and Democrats and a core principle of the European Pillar of Social rights.
"We Socialists and Democrats are committed to ensuring that workers are protected against the exposure to harmful carcinogenic and mutagenic substances.”
Note to editors:
This is the third Commission proposal amending the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive this parliamentary term. The new rules introduced limit values for inhalation exposure for two substances (formaldehyde and 4,4'-methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline)) and three groups of substances (cadmium and its inorganic compounds; beryllium and its inorganic compounds; and arsenic acid and its salts, as well as inorganic arsenic compounds.
For cadmium, the co-legislators agreed to make sure that where biomonitoring is used, it is continued with the stricter limit value and that the Commission looks into introducing biological values in the future.
For dangerous drugs, the co-legislators agreed to have the Commission evaluate the issue closer in consultation with medical professionals and the social partners.
As for formaldehyde, the negotiators agreed to give additional transition period for funeral and embalming sector, as well as the health sector.
The previous two proposals introduced exposure limits for 20 carcinogenic substances, including diesel engine fumes, proven to cause cancer and mutations.