Procedure : 2019/2182(INL)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0275/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0275/2021

Debates :

PV 18/10/2021 - 17
CRE 18/10/2021 - 17

Votes :

PV 19/10/2021 - 11
PV 20/10/2021 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0427

<Date>{01/10/2021}1.10.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0275/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 353kWORD 138k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on protecting workers from asbestos</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2182(INL))</DocRef>


<Commission>{EMPL}Committee on Employment and Social Affairs</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Nikolaj Villumsen</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 ANNEX I TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 A European framework directive for national asbestos removal strategies
 ANNEX II TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 Update of Directive 2009/148/EC
 ANNEX III TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 Recognition and compensation of asbestos-related diseases
 ANNEX IV TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 Update of Directive 2010/31/EU - Asbestos screening prior to energy renovation works
 ANNEX V TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 Asbestos screening of buildings for sale or rent
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with recommendations to the Commission on protecting workers from asbestos

(2019/2182(INL))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to Articles 152 and 154 TFEU concerning the role and consultation of the social partners,

 having regard to points (1) and (2) of Article 153 TFEU,

 having regard to points (1), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 192 TFEU,

 having regard to Article 194(2) TFEU,

 having regard to Article 114(1) TFEU,

 having regard to Article 168 TFEU,

 having regard to Article 169(3) TFEU,

 having regard to Directive 2009/148/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work[1],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast)[2],

 having regard to Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work[3],

 having regard to Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC)[4],

 having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed on 17 November 2017 jointly by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission (the Pillar),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 4 March 2021 on The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan (COM(2021)0102),

 having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2013 on asbestos related occupational health threats and prospects for abolishing all existing asbestos[5],

 having regard to the practical guidelines for the information and training of workers involved with asbestos removal or maintenance work of the Commission (2012),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 6 June 2014 on an EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 (COM(2014)0332),

 having regard to the Evaluation of the Practical Implementation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Directives in EU Member States (Cowi) published by the Commission,

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 May 2019 entitled ‘Working with asbestos in energy renovation’,

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 February 2015 on Freeing the EU from Asbestos,

 having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2021 on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products (the Construction Products Regulation)[6],

 having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability1a,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. Towards a Toxic-Free Environment’ (COM(2020)0667),

 having regard to the Council conclusions ‘Sustainable Chemicals Strategy of the Union: Time to Deliver’ of 12 March 2021,

 having regard the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘A Renovation Wave for Europe - greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives’ (COM(2020)0662),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 3 February 2021 entitled ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’ (COM(2021)0044),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan. For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098),

 having regard to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Scientific report for evaluation of limit values for asbestos at the workplace, 1 February 2021,

 having regard to the report entitled ‘Conquering cancer: mission possible’ within the framework of Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027),

 having regard to the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations set out in the factsheet ‘Elimination of asbestos-related diseases’ of March 2014,

 having regard to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal 3 on the right to good health and well-being,

 having regard to Rules 47 and 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A9-0275/2021),

A. whereas a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities;

B. whereas asbestos causes between 30 000 and 90 000 deaths per year in the Union;

C. whereas the most common occupational cancer is lung cancer, constituting between 54 % and 75 % of occupational cancers, and whereas asbestos is the main cause of lung cancer (45 %)[7]; whereas exposure to asbestos combined with tobacco use considerably increases the risk of developing lung cancer[8];

 

D. whereas the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recognised asbestos as a proven carcinogen (group 1) that is responsible for asbestosis, lung cancers and mesothelioma, as well as larynx and ovarian cancers; whereas research into other cancers induced by asbestos as well as on other non-cancerous health conditions should be promoted[9]; whereas an increased risk of cancer has been observed even in populations exposed to very low levels of asbestos fibres, including chrysotile fibres; whereas asbestos can cause other non-malignant lung and pleural disorders, including pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and benign pleural effusions;

E.  whereas asbestos has been banned in the Union since 2005; whereas some Member States banned asbestos as early as the 1980s; whereas Member States must ensure that asbestos fibres are completely phased-out as soon as possible; whereas the nature and extent of the use of asbestos varies greatly among Member States;

F. whereas Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council[10] (EACH) specified that the manufacture, selling and use of asbestos fibres and products containing these fibres added intentionally is prohibited and whereas Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1005[11] amending Annex XVII to REACH aims to ensure the complete phase out of asbestos products in Member States by 1 July 2025;

G. whereas asbestos is a highly dangerous carcinogenic agent used worldwide in building and other materials in many areas of our daily life; whereas many different groups are at risk of exposure to asbestos, including workers in the building and renovation sector, mining, waste management, firefighters, as well as home-owners and renters; whereas the most harmful health effects of inhaled asbestos fibres and asbestos-related diseases can take up to 40 years to manifest; whereas cases in the Union are expected to peak around 2025[12];

H. whereas despite existing regulations at Union and national level, many cases of asbestos-related disease are too often not recognised as an occupational disease and victims are therefore not eligible for work-related compensation, adding to the physical suffering from the disease; whereas trade unions and associations representing victims play an important role in assisting victims of occupational diseases in recognition procedures and compensation claims;

 

I. whereas the management of asbestos in buildings, including abandoned buildings, and its safe removal requires full consideration of health and safety at work in relation to the Union’s plan to improve the thermal insulation of its built environment with a view to energy savings and becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050; whereas building renovation to increase energy efficiency often involves handling materials such as roofs, walls or electric settings, which could contain asbestos if they were constructed before the Union and national regulation or ban of the use of asbestos; whereas a substantial share of the existing built environment in the Union is more than 50 years old; whereas the deterioration of the Union’s building stock increases the risk of environmental exposure posing a threat to many different groups of the population and which could, in particular, lead to more cases of mesothelioma; whereas asbestos-related diseases have been observed in populations living in the vicinity of industrial sites; whereas the health effects of environmental exposure have been largely under-estimated[13]; whereas environmental exposure levels to asbestos can reach occupational exposure levels; whereas more research is needed into the risks related to asbestos via such environmental pathways.

J. whereas disposing of asbestos waste in landfill is not a viable long-term solution as the waste will have to be dealt with by future generations, as asbestos fibres are virtually indestructible overtime; whereas releasing asbestos fibres into the environment should be avoided; whereas there is a need to develop cost-effective methods for the inertisation of waste containing asbestos, in order to deactivate active asbestos fibres and convert them into materials that do not pose public health risks;

K. whereas, more broadly, research and innovation should be fostered to improve asbestos screening, the identification of asbestos-related cancers other than lung cancer and mesotheliomas, safe removal techniques, waste management and the safety of occupants of buildings and exposed workers, including real-time asbestos alert and detection technology;

L. whereas, according to Article 191(1) TFEU, Union policy on environment is to contribute to the pursuit of objectives such as protecting the health of its citizens, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, promoting the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources, and promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems;

M. whereas, according to Article 191(2) TFEU, Union policy on environment is to be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay;

N. whereas Article 37 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union requires a high level of environmental protection and the improvement of the quality of the environment to be integrated into the policies of the Union and ensured in accordance with the principle of sustainable development;

O. whereas the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is becoming universally recognised as the number of states recognising this right has grown over the last few years, with more than 155 countries recognising that right, or elements of that right, in their national legal systems;

P.  whereas according to the ECHA, asbestos is a non-threshold carcinogen; whereas the existing binding occupational exposure limit value(OELV) for asbestos is 0,1 fibres/cm3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average; whereas the Risk Assessment Committee of the ECHA has prepared an opinion for a reduction of the binding OELV for asbestos; whereas exposure should always be reduced as far as technically possible, especially when no safe threshold exists; whereas, as a consequence, the OELV should be reviewed to take account of the latest scientific and technical developments, and revised accordingly;

Q. whereas 80 % of occupational cancers recognised in the Member States are asbestos related; whereas 98 % of the human costs, including the impact on life quality and workers’ families, are endured by workers; whereas estimates suggest that the cost of occupational cancer in the Union accounts for between EUR 270 and EUR 610 billion per year, or 1,8 % to 4,1 % of GDP[14]; whereas action to enhance policies to prevent ill health are crucial to ensuring that workers and their families are able to live healthier lives;

R.  whereas asbestos has been widely used in housing and poses health risks; whereas the right to adequate housing, defined inter alia as providing protection against threats to health, has been recognised as a human right and as key to tackling health inequalities by international organisations and Member States; whereas the safe removal of asbestos will contribute to ensuring quality housing for all, in particular for low-income owners and renters, whose housing conditions have deteriorated in recent decades;

S.  whereas the safe removal of asbestos should not be used as a pretext for practices such as the eviction of tenants on the ground that their homes must be renovated;

T.  whereas the introduction of requirements for the safe removal of asbestos must be socially fair and must be accompanied by appropriate measures to support building owners to finance the needed renovations, as well as accompanying capacity-building measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) conducting works; whereas, at the same time, Union funds under the Renovation Wave for Europe, set out in the Commission’s communication of 14 October 2020, should be safeguarded for beneficiaries that comply with Union and national regulation that aim to protect workers from exposure to asbestos;

U. whereas asbestos is still present in many administrative buildings, schools, housing, infrastructure and public-transport facilities and water supply networks; whereas knowledge about the use and presence of that substance is dwindling over time; whereas the presence of asbestos and the absence of knowledge of this represents a danger for all occupiers and users of buildings;

V. whereas Parliament’s resolution of 17 December 2020 on a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions[15] called on the Member States to eliminate work-related deaths and reduce work-related illnesses by 2030, and called on the Commission to revise Directive 2004/37/EC;

W. whereas the Commission communication of 3 February 2021 entitled ’Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’ states that 52 % of annual occupational deaths in the Union can be attributed to work-related cancers; whereas improving early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation are priorities of the EU Beating Cancer Plan and should benefit patients suffering from asbestos-related diseases; whereas the Commission envisages presenting a legislative proposal in 2022 to further reduce worker exposure to asbestos as part of its plan;

X. whereas the Pillar was adopted as a response to social challenges in the Union; whereas the Pillar comprises 20 principles divided into three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion; whereas principle 10 provides for a high level of protection of workers’ health and safety at work, which should include the protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at the workplace;

Y. whereas the crisis has highlighted the importance of preventing work-related diseases and investing in affordable public health for all; whereas labour inspectorates, trade unions and workplace health and safety representatives play a key role in effective inspection and enforcement of asbestos-related rules and regulations; whereas effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties are key to deterring employers from infringing regulations on occupational health and safety at work and ensuring fair competition on the internal market;

Z. whereas the built environment has a significant impact on many sectors of the economy, on local jobs and quality of life; whereas the new sustainable built environment strategy from the Commission aims inter alia to promote circularity principles throughout the lifecycle of buildings; whereas the Commission’s new Circular Economy Action Plan of 11 March 2020 involves focused initiatives to address key product value chains such as construction and buildings; whereas the Commission’s communication of 1 July 2020 entitled “European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience” (COM(2020)0274) acknowledges that the construction sector will need to invest in upskilling of workforce to cater to the needs of the green transition with regard to green design and materials, energy efficiency, circularity and renovation; whereas the availability of skilled construction workers is key to the success of the Renovation Wave;

AA. whereas asbestos and asbestos-containing materials and products can still be legally produced, processed, imported and exported in over 100 countries worldwide, including countries in the Union’s neighbourhood regions; whereas Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council[16] establishes the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade as revised in 2019 (the Rotterdam Convention), whereby a country’s specific agreement is required before exporting a product containing toxic chemicals; whereas strengthening efforts to keep non-compliant products from being placed on the Union market was identified as a priority in the Commission communication of 28 October 2015 entitled ‘Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business’ (COM(2015)0550); whereas, despite Union and national bans and existing regulation, asbestos is still entering the internal market[17]; whereas as long as asbestos is legally produced and marketed globally, there is always a risk it will enter the internal market;

AB.  whereas robust registries of people with past or current exposure to asbestos are important to ensure medical surveillance and to facilitate the recognition of occupational diseases, whilst complying with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council[18]; whereas Member States have different ways of organising national social insurance schemes with regard to work-related injury or disease, including the complementary role of collective agreements; whereas the principles underlying such schemes and the autonomy of the social partners need to be respected;

AC. whereas the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 February 2015 on Freeing the EU from Asbestos states that it should be ensured that at Member State level all cases of asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are registered by means of systematic data collection on occupational and non-occupational asbestos diseases, that pleural plaques are categorised and officially registered as an asbestos-related disease, that reliable mapping of asbestos presence is ensured, with the assistance of dedicated observatories, and that medical staff should receive appropriate training so they can perform their duty of sound diagnosis;

AD. whereas the legislation in force in some Member States only puts certain obligations on owners, administrators or managers of asbestos-containing buildings when they start to use the building or intend to start its demolition, and not when selling a building equipped with asbestos-containing products;

European Strategy for the Removal of All Asbestos (ESRAA)

1. Points out that the safe removal of asbestos is an example of the need to apply the principle of health in all policies referred to in Article 168(1) TFEU, as it is directly connected to the following recent and upcoming Union policy initiatives: the new Union framework for health and safety, the Green Deal with the Renovation Wave, Next Generation EU and the Multiannual Financial Framework, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the EU waste strategy and the circular economy package; highlights that the treatment of asbestos waste should fully apply the precautionary principle; calls on the Commission to propose a corresponding revision of relevant Union waste legislation;

2. Underlines that the safe removal of asbestos is a difficult and urgent task and reiterates its call for a comprehensive and integrated approach connecting several policy areas; points out that safe working conditions should be the main priority;

3. Calls on the Commission to present a European Strategy for the Removal of All Asbestos (ESRAA), which includes the following elements:

(a) a European framework for national strategies for the safe removal of all asbestos in the Member States. This framework should include a legislative proposal to introduce minimum standards for publicly accessible national asbestos registers;

(b) a proposal to update Directive 2009/148/EC in order to strengthen Union measures for protecting workers, from the threat of asbestos and to prevent a new wave of asbestos victims in the course of the Union’s building Renovation Wave;

(c) a legislative proposal for:

(i) the recognition of occupational diseases, including all known asbestos related diseases, with minimum standards for recognition procedures, and

(ii) minimum standards for the compensation of victims of asbestos related occupational diseases;

 

(d) A proposal to update Directive 2010/31/EU with a view to introducing a requirement for the mandatory screening and subsequent removal of asbestos and other dangerous substances before renovation works can start, in order to protect the health of construction workers;

(e) A legislative proposal for the mandatory screening of buildings before sale or rent and for the establishment of asbestos certificates for buildings constructed before 2005 of before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier;

4.  Notes that comprehensive removal strategies will entail financial and administrative consequences for building owners, public authorities and businesses, in particular SMEs, including microenterprises, as well as a significant workload for the certifying bodies; stresses, therefore, that appropriate transition periods and adequate regulatory and financial support should be provided;

5.  Underlines the need to mobilise all existing financial mechanisms available at Union and Member State level and highlights the fact that the Commission has already made clear that Member States can allocate European Structural and Investment (ESI) funds for the handling and removal of asbestos[19]; in this regard, calls for the mobilisation of ESI funds to improve the reliability and speed of asbestos screening and the measurement, removal, and safe waste management in line with the objectives of the relevant national or regional programmes; stresses that support for research and development, in particular with regard to the development and improvement of the route-to-market for occupational health and safety technology, including real-time measurement and alert systems for asbestos, as well as cost-effective asbestos inertisation methods and technologies is crucial; calls on the Commission and Member States to use all the tools to support investments in sustainable treatment technologies, including through dedicated Important Projects of Common European Interest;

6.  Stresses that Union funds under the Renovation Wave should be safeguarded for beneficiaries that comply with Union and national regulations aiming to protect workers from asbestos; calls for a system to ensure that Union funds are recuperated from beneficiaries found to not comply with community or national rules on the protection of workers from asbestos;

7. Calls for the strengthening of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), in order to provide effective tools such as technical and scientific support for improving prevention efforts, to better monitor the registration of workplaces containing asbestos and the tracking of workers who have or might have been in contact with it, to improve training and protective equipment provided to workers; calls for the establishment of a European platform, within the remit of EU-OSHA, to showcase good practices on the removal of asbestos and safe disposal of asbestos, which have already been implemented in several Member States, and to provide for the exchange of such good practices;

8.  Points out that labour inspectorates have a vital role to play in the prevention and monitoring of asbestos exposure and also in helping to enhance expertise and information provision at company level; calls on the Member States to improve the number of labour inspectors, the quality of labour inspectorates and inspections as well as the frequency of inspections; takes the view that Member States should go well beyond the International Labour Organization’s recommendation to provide for a minimum one inspector for every 10 000 workers; urges Member States to impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties on firms that fail to comply with their obligations concerning, in particular, occupational safety and health;

9. Considers the urgent need for an effective access to justice and redress for all health damage, not only that relating to anxiety, for all asbestos victims; underlines that all medical costs related to asbestos exposure should be covered by the employers; calls on the Commission to assess the possible need for legislation establishing a general liability regime for diffuse pollution to provide compensation to victims for all damages from diffuse pollution, including that caused by asbestos;

A European framework directive for national asbestos removal strategies

 

10. Welcomes Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘A Renovation Wave for Europe’- greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives’, which seeks to renovate 35 million buildings by 2030; shares the view expressed in the communication that particular attention should be paid to protecting workers renovating old buildings and intervening in emergency operations from exposure to asbestos;

11. Stresses that better preventive measures and risk-management of asbestos-related risks require access to relevant information adapted to the needs of those directly concerned;

12. Calls on the Commission to support the dissemination of information on the various systems for the safe and orderly removal or disposal of asbestos products based on best available techniques;

13. Underlines that risks arising from populations exposed to naturally occurring asbestos materials is also an area where information is needed;

14. Insists that any Union initiative supporting energy renovation should be socially fair and include measures for the protection of the health of occupants and workers, including through identification of buildings that contain asbestos, in order to enable the safe removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials;

15. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that access to decent, affordable and healthy housing is one of the cornerstones of the Action Plan of the Pillar;

16. Welcomes the fact that several Member States and regions are currently pursuing ambitious plans to remove asbestos from the built environment with clear timelines, including the Netherlands, Poland and Flanders;

17. Reiterates its call on the Commission to set a legal framework for an assessment, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including the social partners, of all existing asbestos in buildings and infrastructure in the Member States, and to estimate the costs of its safe removal in each Member State;

18. Calls on the Commission to present a proposal for a framework directive for Member States to set up national asbestos removal plans that include clear and realistic timelines, including priorities and interim targets, detection and registration of asbestos, financing and support to homeowners and SMEs, protection measures for workers against the risk of asbestos exposure in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC as well as the safe disposal of asbestos in order to prevent asbestos from entering into recycling processes;

19. Insists on the need to carry out long-term epidemiological surveillance to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken; highlights that mesothelioma is a disease whose main risk-factor is asbestos and that the number of mesotheliomas diagnosed is a relevant indicator for epidemiological surveillance; calls therefore for the reporting of mesothelioma to competent authorities to be made mandatory;

20. Points out that, according to recent studies, non-occupational exposure to asbestos may explain about 20 % of the mesotheliomas in industrialized countries[20];

21. Recalls the anticipated increase in construction work in view of the Renovation Wave which will be accompanied by increased occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos fibres; highlights the need for asbestos to be substituted with energy efficient materials in the context of the Renovation Wave;

22. Reiterates its call for national public asbestos registers; calls on the Commission to introduce, as part of a proposal for a framework directive, minimum standards for publicly accessible digital national registers for asbestos and other hazardous substances in public and privately owned buildings; stresses that registers for asbestos should be compatible with databases and registers such as those related to energy efficiency and populated via common tools (i.e. building renovation passports), in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679;

23. Calls on the European Environment Agency to conduct further research on the presence of asbestos in rivers and their surrounding tributaries, and its effects on vegetation and wildlife, such as the one conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency[21];

24. Stresses that background concentration levels of asbestos in the atmosphere should be monitored and measured across Member States, that access to information  should be made available and that exposure limit values for living spaces should be introduced;

25. Recalls that a study by Italian scientists has raised the important question of whether ingestion of water containing asbestos fibres increases the risk of gastric and colorectal cancers[22]; stresses that potential asbestos-related diseases possibly caused by the ingestion of water containing such fibres coming from asbestos pipes could take several decades to become apparent; stresses that, even if the Italian study alone cannot make it possible to definitively conclude, at this stage, on the link between the ingestion of asbestos via water and the development of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, the precautionary principle should apply given the uncertainties involved; considers that more research should be conducted on this important question; calls on the Member States, therefore, to carry out regular monitoring of the quality of the water used for the abstraction of drinking water and to take the necessary preventive and mitigation measures in case there is a risk to human health;

26. Is concerned about the state of the drinking water distribution network in the Union and the presence of asbestos cement pipes, the deterioration of which releases asbestos fibres into the water; further, recalls that in line with WHO recommendations asbestos-cement pipes should no longer be used or approved for drinking water[23]; considers that, in the framework of the European Strategy for the complete elimination of asbestos, and through the European Recovery Plan and those of the Member States, a comprehensive renovation and asbestos removal plan for the European drinking water distribution network should be drawn up and implemented;

Update of Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work

 

27. Recalls that asbestos remains one of the most significant occupational health challenges and that 125 million people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace[24], despite its health risks having been known for decades;

28. Points out that approximately 250 000 people worldwide die each year as a result of asbestos exposure[25]; points out that, in recent years, the rate of death from asbestos fibres has even accelerated;

29. Calls on the Commission to update Directive 2009/148/EC, taking into account the latest scientific knowledge and technical developments, including an evaluation of different types of asbestos fibres and their adverse health effects, as well as to start the consultation process for updating the list of fibrous silicates within the scope of the Directive and, in that context, to assess the inclusion of riebeckite winchite, richterite, fluoro-edenite, and erionite in the list which already covers actinolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, grunerite;

30. Emphasises that Directive 2009/148/EC applies to all activities in which workers are or may be exposed in the course of their work to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos; calls for stronger provisions ensuring the protection of all workers at asbestos removal sites, including workers entering a worksite post removal; calls for a stronger emphasis on the need to include all at-risk professions, including renovation and demolition workers, waste managers, miners and firefighters, in the national implementation of that Directive;

31. Is concerned that according to the latest scientific medical research and recommendations, there is no threshold under which asbestos fibre air concentration is harmless[26]; believes in that regard that no exemptions from the protection measures of Directive 2009/148/EC can be justified under reference to the OELV; calls for Directive 2009/148/EC to fully reflect the principle that appropriate personal protective measures should always be taken during activities in which workers are or may be exposed to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos in the course of their work; considers that the hazardous nature of non-friable asbestos- containing materials should be taken into consideration when assessing the risks; calls for an individual risk assessment related to the planned work process to determine the necessary protective measures;

32. Insists that the safe removal and disposal of asbestos containing parts and materials is a priority, because repair, maintenance, encapsulation or sealing only lead to the postponement of the removal which perpetuates the risks for inhabitants and workers years later; calls for the prohibition of encapsulation and sealing of asbestos- containing materials which can technically be removed; insists that this prohibition should avoid putting the most modest households in a situation where they could not afford the necessary renovation; stresses, therefore, the need for appropriate accompanying measures; insists on the importance of identification, registration and regular monitoring of asbestos containing parts which cannot be removed in the short term (such as concrete walls in buildings);

33. Encourages the creation of synergies with the database being set up by the ECHA to gather information and improve knowledge about substances of concern in products and in products when they become waste;

34. Recalls the fundamental legal principle of health and safety at work that the state of the art in technology must always be applied to achieve the highest possible level of protection; calls for the strengthening of technical minimum requirements to lower the concentration of asbestos fibres in the air to the lowest level which is technically possible, including through dust suppression and the suction of dust at the source, continuous sedimentation, and means of decontamination; calls for minimum requirements for the pressure difference between asbestos enclosures and surroundings, fresh air supply and HEPA filters;

35.  Stresses the need for updated technical minimum requirements to contain provisions to keep pace with technological developments; stresses that the required use of robots and other advanced technologies needs to be further explored, including through research and a more systematic exchange of best practices between Member States for the purpose of the ongoing development of new standards for the protection of workers’ health and safety; notes that optical microscopy is not the latest available technology to count asbestos fibres in the breathing air and that Analytical Transmission Electron Microscopy (ATEM) is more sensitive and makes it possible to distinguish and count asbestos fibres; calls for the use, where possible, of ATEM or similarly advanced methods for fibre counting;

36.  Recalls that sampling must be representative of the personal exposure of the worker, which means that samples must be taken in representative and realistic situations of workers’ exposure to asbestos dust by repeatedly measuring in regular intervals during the specific operational phases; believes that if sampling cannot be representative of the personal exposure of the worker, all appropriate protective measures should be applied;

37.  Considers that the information in the notification should include all elements added in Annex II to this resolution such as, for example, the areas in which the work will be conducted, the equipment used for the protection and the decontamination of workers, and a plan for waste disposal; believes that national competent authorities should store the information for at least 40 years;

38.  Insists on the need to provide sufficient and focused administrative support to employers in transposing protective measures and notification requirements, in particular SMEs, including microenterprises, in order to avoid non-compliance; highlights that the provision of standardised processes for operations on asbestos materials would help reduce the levels of asbestos fibre dust, the costs of those operations and facilitate the fulfilment of the notification requirements;

39. Notes that the current Union minimum standard for the asbestos OELV is 100 000 fibres per m3 (0,1 fibres/cm3) and that most Member States apply the current minimum standard; highlights that some Member States apply much lower OELVs to protect the health of workers, for example an OELV of 2 000 fibres/m3 (0,002) in the Netherlands;

40. Underlines that leading medical researchers from the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH) conclude that exposure limits do not protect properly against cancer and propose an occupational limit value of 1 000 fibres/m3 (0,001 fibres/cm3); welcomes the Commission’s commitment to present a legal proposal to further reduce workers’ exposure to asbestos in 2022 and calls on the Commission, as a matter of priority, to update those exposure limits, which should be set at 0,001 fibres/cm3 (1 000 fibres/m3), taking into account recommendations from different stakeholders and after consulting the Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work; stresses the need for an adequate transition period to implement the new methodology and the new exposure values;

41.  Emphasises that employers but also owners, main contractors and contracting authorities that commission work should be required to carry out an asbestos diagnosis before the start of any work in buildings, ships, aircraft, on equipment, or products; demands that prior to the start of work on premises that were built before 2005 or before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier, a comprehensive screening for the presence of asbestos-containing materials be carried out by a qualified and certified operator; believes that screenings should always include a diagnosis adapted to the specific workplace and a report should state either the absence or the presence of asbestos, and its fibre type if present, with a detailed description of the nature of contamination and its precise location and estimated quantities; believes that, in addition to the requirements laid down in Article 14 of Directive 2009/148/EC, the Annex to that Directive should include requirements for a minimum duration of training validated by an exam with regard to the respective type of work; underlines in this context the need for a coherent methodology for risk assessment to ensure a Union level playing field and avoid the fragmentation of the internal market;

42.  Is concerned that training requirements and the certification of training carried out still vary greatly among Member States, which is a severe hazard for health and safety in the context of the cross-border mobility of workers; calls for a new annex to Directive 2009/148/EC with obligatory minimum requirements for training on work with asbestos, including specific requirements for workers in specialised asbestos removal companies as well as workers who could come into contact with asbestos containing materials while performing their work; in addition to the requirements laid down in Article 14 of Directive 2009/148/EC, believes that the Annex to that Directive should include requirements for a minimum duration of training with regard to the respective type of work, appropriate documentation of such training, and the regular intervals in which an individual worker must attend training;

Recognition and compensation of asbestos-related diseases

 

43. Calls on the Commission to update its Recommendation of 19 September 2003 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases[27] to include the latest available scientific medical knowledge regarding occupational diseases, in particular with regard to asbestos-related diseases;

44. Calls on Member States to facilitate recognition procedures by reversing the burden of proof, especially if national registers for asbestos workers were set up only recently, and to establish adequate compensation for workers suffering from asbestos related diseases;

45. Points out that asbestos-related diseases are a cross-border challenge due to free movement, thereby particularly taking into consideration the role of mobile workers in this regard; recalls that occupational diseases and workplace-related health risks are always linked to a specific profession, working activity, workplace and time; calls on the Commission to present, after consulting the social partners, a proposal for a directive on the basis of Article 153(1)(a) and (b) TFEU laying down Union minimum standards for the recognition and compensation of occupational diseases, including asbestos-related diseases;

46.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal for the Member States to establish a national function or an ombudsperson to assist victims of occupational diseases, and especially asbestos-related diseases which have a long latency period, in recognition procedures; calls on the Member States to support the establishment of patients associations and trade union groups for the victims of asbestos-related diseases and their families and insists on the need to consult these associations with a view to facilitate and simplify recognition procedures; calls for increased national funding to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases, to ensure sufficient coverage of the direct, indirect and human costs of the illness;

47.  Recalls that the synergistic effect of smoking and asbestos exposure considerably increases the risk of developing lung cancer; calls on Member States to propose a smoking cessation programme to all workers exposed to asbestos; reiterates that smoking must never be a reason to exclude a worker from the recognition of an asbestos-related occupational disease, or from being entitled to claim compensation and medical treatment for such a disease;

48.  Calls for a better evaluation of the risks linked to non-occupational second hand exposure, particularly for family members living with asbestos workers; calls on Member States to facilitate the recognition of and compensation for documented victims of second-hand exposure through non-occupational contact with asbestos and draw on best practices from Member States such as Denmark; reiterates the gender perspective of second-hand exposure;

49. Stresses the existence of different types of non-occupational exposure to asbestos with potentially significant consequences on human health, whether of para-occupational (including exposure to asbestos dust reported at home by workers), domestic (including the presence of household objects containing asbestos), or environmental (by materials existing in buildings and installations or of industrial origin);

50.  Stresses that women who are exposed to asbestos-related risks are particularly vulnerable to certain kinds of asbestos exposure; calls for a better recognition of the gender perspective throughout occupational health and safety, and for gender mainstreaming in all legislative and non-legislative instruments in the Member States, to ensure that no gender bias has an impact on the tracking, identification, treatment or consideration of a disease as asbestos-related, with a consequential impact on the level of compensation for victims; calls for a greater consideration of cleaning activities as risk factors when diagnosing diseases; calls for better risk assessments and the identification of exposure to asbestos for workers who are cleaners, especially female cleaners, as well as of people who take responsibility for unpaid household chores, such as cleaning of products that are contaminated with asbestos;

51. Stresses that the polluter must pay principle should be taken into account in the attribution of the cost of asbestos removal as far as possible;

Asbestos screening prior to energy renovation works and selling or renting out a building

 

52. Recalls that recital 14 of Directive (EU) 2018/844 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings calls on Member States to support energy performance upgrades of existing buildings, including through the removal of asbestos and other harmful substances, preventing the illegal removal of harmful substances, and facilitating compliance with existing legislative acts;

53. Calls on the Commission to present a proposal for an amendment to Article 7 of Directive 2010/31/EU in the context of “A Renovation Wave for Europe” introducing a requirement for the mandatory asbestos screening, registering, and removal of asbestos and other dangerous substances before any renovation works can start, while having regard to Article 153(1)(a) TFEU on the improvement, in particular, of the working environment to protect workers' health and safety;

54. Calls on the Commission to present a legislative proposal for the mandatory screening of buildings before sale or rent and for the establishment of asbestos certificates for buildings constructed before 2005 or before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier;

55.  Calls on the Member States to adopt protective measures for tenants where asbestos is found prior to energy renovation works; emphasises that screening and removal expenses should not be payable by the tenants; calls on the Member States to ensure that tenants receive full disclosure with regard to asbestos in buildings and that they are provided by the asbestos certificate;

The Union as a global leader against asbestos

56.  Welcomes the Council Conclusions of 12 March 2021, which emphasise the need to strengthen national market surveillance capabilities and the role of the customs authorities; calls on the Member States to strengthen controls and market surveillance and to cooperate with other Member States’ border and customs authorities to prevent the entry of illegal asbestos-containing products into the internal market; stresses the importance of supporting and developing sustainable solutions for dismantling vessels within the Union in line with the New Circular Economy Action Plan in order to avoid adverse health effects on workers due to asbestos exposure when dismantling vessels; calls on the Commission to ensure high standards for the protection of workers against asbestos exposure at Union- approved ship recycling facilities in third countries; calls on the Commission to launch a study mapping the scale of illegal imports into the Union of asbestos-containing products and materials, and outlining potential measures to strengthen market surveillance, that could include the possibility of restricting access to docking, port facilities and temporary storage within the Union of vessels that carry asbestos containing products or materials as cargo in transit;

57.  Calls on the Commission to make the listing of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention and a global ban on asbestos top priorities; calls on the Union to work with international organisations to pioneer instruments to label the asbestos market as a toxic trade; calls on the Union to integrate the fight against asbestos and asbestos-related diseases into its external policies; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase their support, including financial, of global actors working against asbestos and asbestos-related diseases, including the WHO; condemns financial investment in global asbestos industries;

58. Recalls that one third of the people in the WHO European region live in countries which have not yet banned the use of all forms of asbestos[28]; points out that 16 European countries still use asbestos, particularly as a building material, and continue to produce and export it;

Financial aspects

59. Calls on the Commission to assess the financial implications of Parliament’s requests in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 7 and point 3 of Annex I;


o

o o

 

60. Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the accompanying recommendations to the Commission and the Council.


 

 

ANNEX I TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
A European framework directive for national asbestos removal strategies

The European Parliament requests that the Commission submit, after consulting the social partners as provided for in Article 154, on the basis of Article 152(2) and Article 192(1) to (5) TFEU, a framework directive setting out minimum requirements for national asbestos removal strategies, considering at least the following elements:

(1) an assessment estimating the quantities and predominant types of asbestos containing materials to be removed from buildings and infrastructure in a Member State or region; 

(2) a timeline for asbestos removal, including prioritising certain buildings - such as schools, healthcare facilities, sport centres or social housing - milestones, and regular evaluations of the progress made at least every five years;

(3) a financial framework, based on the use of ESI funds, for the support of building owners and thereby linking the removal of asbestos to other public policies and programmes (such as energy efficiency, improvements of the living environment, social housing, disease prevention) for reasons of efficiency and the use of synergies;

(4) minimum criteria for national digital asbestos registries, which should map all existing asbestos in a Member State or region, including at least the following requirements: 

(a)  public accessibility, free of charge, including for workers and companies working in a building or infrastructure, owners, inhabitants, firefighters and other emergency services and users, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679;

(b) the year of construction of the building or infrastructure concerned (before or after the national asbestos ban);

(c)  information about the type of building or infrastructure in which asbestos is located (private, public or business premises);

(d) the specific location of harmful substances and the parts of the building that have been screened for asbestos;

(e) an indication of where work will be or has been performed (inside/outside) as well as the part of the building (floors, walls, ceilings, roofs) or infrastructure;

(f) the type of material (asbestos cement, insulation, putty etc.) and an estimated proportion of those types of material;

(g) the kind of works that need to be conducted and an indication of work methods that may disturb asbestos containing materials (drilling, cutting etc.) and the expected duration of the works;

(h) a timeline for removal and a management plan;

(5) a link to all relevant national occupational health and safety regulations applicable, in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC;

(6)  a plan for the safe, monitored, and documented disposal of asbestos containing waste ensuring the availability of adequate waste facilities in accordance with national practices; the plan should include a solution for the entire separation of waste cycles in accordance with the principle of zero asbestos contamination into waste cycles preventing the reuse of construction materials and ensuring the maximum protection of workers in the field of the circular economy and an environmentally safe storage of asbestos waste according to the best available technologies;

(7) a strategy for the control and enforcement of the measures foreseen in the framework directive, including awareness campaigns, accompanying capacity building measures for SMEs, inspections and effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in the event of non-compliance;

(8) the close involvement of the social partners and other relevant stakeholders such as asbestos-victim associations and national prevention institutions for occupational health and safety, in the transposition, implementation and monitoring of Directive 2009/148/EC.


 

ANNEX II TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
Update of Directive 2009/148/EC

The European Parliament requests that the Commission submit, after consulting the social partners as provided for in Article 154, on the basis of Article 153(2)(b) TFEU, a proposal to amend Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work, based on the following recommendations:

1. Article 3 is amended as follows:

(a)  paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[29]:

“1.  This Directive shall apply to all activities in which workers are or may be exposed in the course of their work to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos.”

(b)  paragraph 3 is deleted[30];

(c)  paragraph 4 is replaced by the following[31]:

4.  Member States shall, following consultation with representatives from both sides of industry, in accordance with national law and practice, lay down practical guidelines for the determination of sporadic and low-intensity exposure. They shall also develop sector-specific responses to protect workers from exposure to asbestos dust, including activities in the renovation and demolition, waste management, mining, cleaning and firefighting sectors.”

2. Article 4 is amended as follows:

(a) paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[32]:

“1. Subject to Article 3[...], the measures referred to in paragraphs 2 to 5 shall be taken.”

(b) paragraph 3 is replaced by the following[33]:

“3. The notification referred to in paragraph 2 shall be submitted by the employer to the responsible authority of the Member State, before the work commences, in accordance with national laws, regulations and administrative provisions.

The notification must include at least a brief description of:

(a) the location of the worksite and the specific areas in which the work will be conducted;

(b)  the type and quantities of asbestos used or handled;

(c)  the activities and processes involved;

(d)  the number of workers involved, the list of workers likely to be assigned to the site, the individual certificates proving their competence and the training received, and the dates of the mandatory medical visits;

(e) the starting date, duration of the work and planned working hours;

(f)  measures taken to limit the exposure of workers to asbestos;

(g) the characteristics of the equipment used for the protection and decontamination of workers;

(h) the characteristics of the equipment used for waste disposal;

(i) the procedure for the decontamination of workers and equipment, durations and working hours;

(j) a provisional aeraulic balance for work carried out under confinement;

(k) a plan for safe and sustainable waste disposal, including with regard to the destination of asbestos containing waste.

Notifications shall be kept by the responsible authority of the Member State in accordance with national law and practice for a minimum of 40 years.

3. Article 5 is replaced by the following[34]:

“Article 5

[...]

Without prejudice to the application of other Community provisions on the marketing and use of asbestos, activities which expose workers to asbestos fibres during the extraction of asbestos or the manufacture and processing of asbestos products or the manufacture and processing of products containing intentionally added asbestos shall be prohibited, with the exception of the treatment and disposal of products resulting from demolition and asbestos removal.

Asbestos-containing parts and materials already in use shall be safely removed and disposed of when technically feasible, and not repaired, maintained, sealed, or covered. Asbestos-containing materials which cannot be removed in the short term shall be identified, registered and regularly monitored.

4. In Article 6, point (b) is replaced by the following[35]:

“(b) work processes must be designed so as not to produce asbestos dust or, if that proves impossible, to avoid the release of asbestos dust into the air, by at least implementing the following measures:

(i) dust suppression;

(ii) suction of dust at the source;

(iii) continuous sedimentation of fibres suspended in the air;

(iv) appropriate decontamination;

(v) setting a minimum pressure difference of minus 10;

(vi) supplying clean replacement air from a point further away;

(vii) checking the performance of negative pressure units and portable vacuums of local exhaust ventilation systems after the change of a HEPA filter and before the start of asbestos removal or at least once a year, by measuring the removal efficiencies of filters with a direct-reading particle counter.”

5. Article 7 is amended as follows:

(a) paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[36]:

“1. Depending on the results of the initial risk assessment, and in order to ensure compliance with the limit value laid down in Article 8, measurement of asbestos fibres in the air at the workplace shall be carried out by measuring during the specific operational phases and in regular intervals during the work process.”

(b) paragraph 2 is replaced by the following[37]:

“2. Sampling must be representative of the real personal exposure of the worker to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos.”

(c) paragraph 5 is replaced by the following[38]:

“5. The duration of sampling must be such that representative exposure can be established for all operations in all their different phases carried out during the work process.”

(d) the first subparagraph of paragraph 6 is replaced by the following[39]:

“6. Fibre counting shall be carried out wherever possible by analytical transmission electron microsc

opy or any other method giving equivalent results.”

6. Article 8 is replaced by the following[40]:

“Article 8

Employers shall ensure that no worker is exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos in excess of 0,001 fibres per cm3 (1 000 fibres per m3) at any moment during the work process.”

7. In Article 10, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[41]:

“1. 

Where the limit value laid down in Article 8 is exceeded or there is reason to believe that asbestos-containing materials which were not identified prior to the work have been disturbed so as to generate dust, work must stop immediately. The reasons for the limit being exceeded must be identified and appropriate measures to remedy the situation must be taken as soon as possible.

Work shall not be continued in the affected area until adequate measures have been taken for the protection of the workers concerned.”

8. Article 11 is replaced by the following[42]:

 

“Article 11

Before beginning demolition or maintenance work, or renovation works on premises built before 2005 or before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier, the premises must be screened to identify all asbestos-containing materials, in accordance with the requirements of Part 6 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 and Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 305/2011. The screening must be conducted by a qualified and certified operator or authority, taking into account Articles 14 and 15 of this Directive, and the national building law provisions.

The Member States shall regulate the details of explorations and investigations for the detection of asbestos-containing materials, in accordance with their national building regulations. Where the complete absence of asbestos cannot be guaranteed, works shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures to be followed where asbestos is present.”

9. In Article 12, the first paragraph is replaced by the following[43]:

 

“In the case of certain activities such as demolition or asbestos removal work[...], in respect of which it is foreseeable that the limit value set out in Article 8 will be exceeded despite the use of all possible technical preventive measures for limiting asbestos in air concentrations, the employer shall determine the measures intended to ensure protection of the workers while they are engaged in such activities, in particular the following:

(a)  workers shall be issued with suitable respiratory and other personal protective equipment, which must be worn;

(b)  warning signs shall be put up indicating that it is foreseeable that the limit value laid down in Article 8 will be exceeded; 

(c)  the spread of dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos outside the premises or site of action shall be prevented and ventilation of air from asbestos removal sites into enclosed spaces shall not be allowed; and

(d) a measurement of asbestos fibre concentration in the air shall be carried out after activities referred to in this paragraph have been concluded in order to ensure that workers can safely re-enter the workplace.’’

10. In Article 13, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[44]:

“1. A plan of work shall be drawn up before any work in relation to asbestos is started.”

11. In Article 14, paragraphs 2 and 3 are replaced by the following[45]:

“2. The content of the training must be easily understandable for workers. It must enable them to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in terms of prevention and safety, in line with applicable laws and regulations in the Members State in which the work takes place.

3.  Mandatory minimum requirements for the content, duration, intervals, and documentation of the training are specified in Annex 1a.”

12. Article 15 is replaced by the following[46]:

“Article 15

1. Undertakings which intend to carry out demolition or asbestos removal work shall be required to obtain before the start of work a renewable permit from the competent authority. Competent authorities may grant such permits if the applicant undertaking offers proof of adequate state of the art technical equipment for emission-free or, where this is not technically possible yet, low-emission work procedures in line with the requirements of Article 6, and training certificates for their individual workers in accordance with Article 14 and Annex 1a.

2. Competent authorities shall grant permits to undertakings only if they have no doubt as to the reliability of the undertaking and its management. The permits shall be renewable every five years, in accordance with national law and practice.

3. Member States shall establish public registers of the undertakings authorised to remove asbestos under paragraph 1.

13. In Article 16, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[47]:

“1. In the case of all activities referred to in Article 3(1)[...], appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that:

(a)  the places in which the above activities take place:

(i) are clearly demarcated and indicated by warning signs;

(ii)  are not accessible to workers other than those who by reason of their work or duties are required to enter them;

(iii)  constitute areas where there should be no smoking;

(b)  areas are set aside where workers can eat and drink without risking contamination by asbestos dust;

(c) workers are provided with appropriate working or protective clothing; protective gears, and especially respiratory equipment, must be subject to a mandatory individual fitting check; all working or protective clothing remains within the undertaking; it may, however, be laundered in establishments outside the undertaking which are equipped for this sort of work if the undertaking does not carry out the cleaning itself; in that event the clothing shall be transported in closed containers;

(ca) regular compulsory breaks and with sufficient time for regeneration for must be foreseen for workers wearing respiratory equipment;

(d) separate storage places are provided for working or protective clothing and for street clothes;

(e) workers are subject to a mandatory decontamination procedure;

(f) protective equipment is placed in a well-defined place and checked and cleaned after each use, and appropriate measures are taken to repair or replace defective equipment before further use.”

14. In Article 17(2), the introductory wording is replaced by the following[48]:

“2. In addition to the measures referred to in paragraph 1[...], appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that:”

15. Article 18 is amended as follows:

(a) paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[49]:

“1. Subject to Article 3[...], the measures referred to in paragraphs 2 to 5 shall be taken.”

(b) paragraph 2 is replaced by the following[50]:

“2.  An assessment of each worker’s state of health must be available prior to the beginning of exposure to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos at the place of work.

This assessment must include a specific examination of the chest. Annex I gives practical recommendations to which the Member States may refer for the clinical surveillance of workers; these recommendations shall be adapted to technical progress in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 17 of Directive 89/391/EEC.

[...]

A new assessment must be available at least once every three years for as long as exposure continues.

An individual health record shall be established and kept for a minimum of 40 years in accordance with national laws and/or practices for each worker referred to in the first subparagraph.”

16.  The following article is inserted:

Article 18c

By ... [5 years after the date of entry into force of this amending Directive] and every five years thereafter, the Commission shall, after consulting the social partners, review the technological and scientific state of asbestos identification, measurement or warning technology and issue guidelines for when such technology should be used in order to protect workers from exposure to asbestos.”

17. In Article 19, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following[51]:

“1. Subject to Article 3[...], the measures referred to in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 shall be taken.”

18. Article 21 is replaced by the following[52]:

“Article 21

1. Member States shall keep a register of all recognised cases of asbestos-related diseases.

2. The term “recognised cases” referred to in paragraph 1 shall not be limited to cases for which compensation is granted, but shall refer to all cases of medically diagnosed asbestos-related diseases.

3. Member States shall keep a register of all recognised cases of asbestos-related occupational diseases. An indicative list of diseases that can be caused by asbestos exposure according to current knowledge is set out in Annex 1b.

19. The following article is inserted:

“Article 21a

In the case of a fire, all existing information regarding the presence and location of asbestos shall be made available to firefighters and emergency services.”

20. The following annexes are inserted:

“Annex 1a

MANDATORY MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAINING

All workers who are, or are likely to be, exposed to dust from asbestos or materials containing asbestos, shall receive mandatory training, encompassing at least the following minimum requirements:

1.  The training shall be provided at the start of an employment relationship and at intervals not exceeding 4 years.

2.  Each training course shall have a minimum duration of 3 working days. 

3. The training shall be provided by a qualified and certified institution and instructor and carried out by a Member State authority or recognised competent body, in accordance with national law and practice.

4.  Every worker who has attended training in a satisfactory manner and has passed the required test shall receive a training certificate indicating:

(a) the date of the training;

(b) the duration of the training;

(c) the content of the training;

(ca) the language of the training;

(d) and the name, qualification, and contact details of the instructor and the institution providing the training.

5.  All workers who are, are likely to be, or are at risk of being exposed to dust from asbestos or materials containing asbestos shall at least receive the following training with a theoretical and a practical part regarding:

(a)  the applicable law of the Member State in which the work is carried out;

(b) the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the synergistic effect of smoking, as well as the risks linked to secondary and environmental exposure;

(c)  the types of products or materials likely to contain asbestos;

(d)  the operations that could result in asbestos exposure and the importance of preventive controls to minimise exposure;

(e)  safe work practices, including workplace preparation, choice of working methods and planning of work execution, ventilation, point extraction, measurement and control, and regular breaks;

(f)  the appropriate role, choice, selection, limitations and proper use of protective equipment, with special regard to respiratory equipment;

(g)  emergency procedures;

(h)  decontamination procedures;

(i)  waste disposal;

(j)  medical surveillance requirements.

The training shall be adapted as closely as possible to the characteristics of the profession and the specific tasks and work methods it involves.

6.  Workers engaging in demolition or asbestos removal work shall receive training, in addition to the items listed under paragraph 4, regarding:

(a) the use of technological equipment and machines to contain the release and spreading of asbestos fibres during the work processes, in accordance with Directive 2009/104/EC;

(b) the newest available technologies and machines for emission-free or, where this is not technically possible yet, low-emission working procedures, to contain the release and spreading of asbestos fibres.

 

 

Annex 1b

LIST OF ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASES

Current knowledge indicates that exposure to asbestos fibres can at least give rise to the following asbestos-related occupational diseases which Member States therefore shall introduce into their national law provisions:

- asbestosis,

- mesothelioma following the inhalation of asbestos dust,

- benign pleural diseases including fibrotic lesions, rounded atelectasis and benign pleural effusion caused by asbestos,

- lung cancer including bronchial cancer following the inhalation of asbestos dust,

- cancer of the larynx following the inhalation of asbestos dust,

- ovarian cancer caused by asbestos,

 

positive associations have been noted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer between asbestos exposure and the following diseases:

 

- pharyngeal cancer,

- colorectal cancer,

- stomach cancer.


ANNEX III TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
Recognition and compensation of asbestos-related diseases

The European Parliament requests that the Commission submit, after consulting the social partners as provided for in Article 154, on the basis of Article 153(2)(b) TFEU, a proposal for a directive setting out minimum requirements for the recognition of occupational diseases, including all asbestos related diseases, and adequate compensation for individuals concerned. The proposal by the Commission should consider at least the following elements: 

(1) a list of occupational diseases liable for compensation and subject to preventive measures which shall be recognised by the Member States and be without prejudice to more favourable national law, building on Commission Recommendation of 19 September 2003 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases, and updated according to the latest available scientific knowledge;

(2) the establishment of one-stop-shops as contact points for individuals concerned dealing with all matters regarding occupational diseases;

(3) the establishment of a national function, such as an ombudsperson to assist victims of occupational diseases in recognition procedures as well as increasing support for, and the exchange of best practices with, inter alia, trade unions and victim associations with regard to recognition procedures;

(4) a reversal of the burden of proof for the recognition of occupational diseases or at least its effective simplification, for example by providing that where asbestos exposure in the workplace can reasonably be established, a link between exposure and subsequent symptoms can be presumed;

(5) provisions for adequate compensation of recognised occupational diseases.


ANNEX IV TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
Update of Directive 2010/31/EU - Asbestos screening prior to energy renovation works

The European Parliament requests that the Commission submit, on the basis of Article 194(2) TFEU, a proposal for an amendment to Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, based on the following recommendation:

Article 7 is replaced by the following:

“Article 7

Existing buildings

Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that when buildings undergo major renovation, the energy performance of the building or the renovated part thereof is upgraded in order to meet minimum energy performance requirements set in accordance with Article 4 in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible.

Those requirements shall be applied to the renovated building or building unit as a whole. Additionally or alternatively, requirements may be applied to the renovated building elements.

Member States shall in addition take the necessary measures to ensure that when a building element that forms part of the building envelope and has a significant impact on the energy performance of the building envelope, is retrofitted or replaced, the energy performance of the building element meets minimum energy performance requirements in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible.

Member States shall determine these minimum energy performance requirements in accordance with Article 4.

Member States shall encourage, in relation to buildings undergoing major renovation, high-efficiency alternative systems, in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible, and shall address the issues of healthy indoor climate conditions, fire safety and risks related to intense seismic activity.

Member States shall make it mandatory to screen buildings for asbestos and other hazardous materials before the start of renovation works. The result of the screening shall be reported in a certificate specifying the presence or absence of asbestos or other hazardous materials. In the first case, the certificate shall specify the types of containing materials found and their exact location. When the result of exploration and investigations cannot exclude the presence of asbestos in a material, the precautionary principle shall apply. The removal and disposal of materials which will be affected by the renovation shall be done in an orderly and safe manner in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011, and other relevant legislative acts.”


ANNEX V TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
Asbestos screening of buildings for sale or rent

The European Parliament requests that the Commission submit, on the basis of Article 169(3) and Article 114(1) TFEU, a directive setting out minimum requirements for asbestos certificates for buildings constructed before 2005 or before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier, and which are sold or rented out. The proposal should consider as a minimum the following elements:

(1) an obligation for owners of buildings (public and private) constructed before 2005 or before the year of an equivalent national asbestos ban, whichever the earlier, to commission a screening of the building to locate and identify the presence or absence of asbestos containing materials before the building (or a part of it) is sold or rented out;

(2) screenings shall be carried out by certified operators only, in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC, national law and practice, and under the supervision of a competent national body;

(3) in order to protect users or occupants as effectively as possible, the screening and, if required, the removal, or, if technically not possible, the encapsulation shall be carried out by qualified and certified operators in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC and national law and practice, and under the supervision of a competent national body;

(4) the certified operator shall communicate the results of the screening to the owner and a competent national body (a one-stop shop) should issue a certificate recorded in a national registry as referred to in point (5) and give information and advice to owners about applicable laws and regulation, including on the correct and safe removal of asbestos detected, and financial support available from relevant ESI funds;

(5) the asbestos certificates shall contain the result of the screening, including a list of the types of asbestos containing materials found, their exact location, their current state of conservation together with a notification of the work and surveillance required to avoid damage to the health of occupants, a concept for the safe removal, and information on potential areas of the building that it has not been possible to screen or where investigations cannot exclude the presence of asbestos;

(6) the certificate specifying the presence of asbestos should have an adequate validity period reflecting the surveillance required, in order to avoid a multiplication of screenings;

(7) the certificates shall be integrated into existing asbestos registries, made available to companies and workers conducting works in the building, annexed to any sale agreement relating to the property and made available to any tenants of the property;

(8) effective, proportionate, and dissuasive fines shall be established for sellers and lessors of buildings who do not commission the prescribed screening and report it to the competent body before selling or renting out the property;

(9) adequate liability regimes shall be established for the case of non-compliance.

The competent national body shall publish a list of certified operators, as referred to in point (2) of the first paragraph.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

According to the latest available scientific data (The Lancet, October 2020), the number of annual asbestos related deaths in the EU28 reached 90,730 in 2019. Asbestos has been and remains one of the key occupational carcinogens. More than 300.000 citizens are expected to die from mesothelioma by 2030 in the EU, the vast majority of the cases resulting from occupational exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is still largely present in buildings and infrastructure built before 2005 when the EU finally banned asbestos. The exposure occurs still among the EU workforce, especially - though not only - in the construction sector.

 

The Green Deal with the new Renovation Wave will trigger the energy renovation of millions of buildings in the EU. Concrete walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, pipes, isolation and many more materials produced before the asbestos ban may contain highly dangerous asbestos fibres. With Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan the EU and the Member States have an opportunity to take into account the cross-cutting nature of the asbestos health threat and to make sure that asbestos removal is carried out in the most efficient way, in terms of human health and safety as well as with regard to organisation and finances.

 

The report proposes to develop a comprehensive European Strategy for the Removal of All Asbestos (ESRAA) in the EU, by using the synergies of several policy areas to safely remove asbestos from the built environment once and for all and thus to protect workers and citizens now and in the future. Those policy areas cover the Green Deal with the Building Renovation Wave, the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery Plan, the New EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work and the revision of the Asbestos at Work Directive 2009/148/EC, and the Circular Economy Action Plan where it addresses construction and buildings. 

 

The report seeks to provide recommendations for several core elements which should be included in an ESRAA.

 

A European framework directive for national asbestos removal strategies, including the assessment of existing asbestos in the built environment, clear timelines and milestones for its safe removal, minimum standards for public digital asbestos registries mapping all existing asbestos in a country or region, public information campaigns and a financial framework for the support of building owners, the safe and documented disposal of asbestos waste, and proper controls and enforcement measures such as reinforced labour inspections, should set the framework for an ESRAA. Asbestos registries should be accessible for workers and companies, owners, inhabitants, and users of buildings and regularly updated. Asbestos registration in the built environment is an important element also for the circular economy and waste strategy, for which the identification, registration, and documented disposal of hazardous materials is central.

 

Health risks arising from asbestos concern workers, but also inhabitants, users and people living in the surroundings of contaminated buildings or infrastructure. Directive 2009/148/EC (“Asbestos at work Directive”) has set the European minimum standards to take measures to ensure protection of the workers while they are engaged in certain activities such as demolition, asbestos removal work, repairing and maintenance. After 12 years since its last revision, some aspects of the directive are obsolete and not in line with the latest scientific knowledge and technical state of the art anymore. The Directive should be updated regarding some of the procedural and technical requirements, establish a better European level playing field for the training of workers and the competence of companies, and lower the occupational exposure limit in line with the latest available knowledge from scientific medical research. 

 

Victims of asbestos related occupational diseases must be recognised in a swift and unbureaucratic manner and adequate compensation. Occupational diseases are always directly linked to a specific workplace and activity, and the right to recognition and compensation should therefore be an integral element of a worker’s health and safety protection at work and the working conditions. Furthermore, the high and rising degree of labour mobility in connection with the long latency periods of asbestos related diseases make this an issue of European concern. New legislation with European minimum standards for the recognition and adequate compensation of occupational diseases, including all known asbestos related diseases, should help workers suffering from an ailment. The report proposes to update the Recommendation of 19 September 2003 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases and use it as a material basis for a new directive, which should, among others, include elements such as a revision of the burden of proof in recognition procedures, the establishment of national one-stop shops for all matters regarding occupational disease, and ombudspersons to assist affected workers in recognition procedures.

 

The Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings 2010/31/EU sets the framework for energy renovations and should also enforce the requirement for the mandatory screening and subsequent removal of asbestos and other dangerous substances before renovation works start. The report makes a proposal for a targeted amendment in this regard.

 

An obligation for owners of buildings to commission a screening of the building to locate and identify asbestos containing materials before the building is sold or rented out is an important point to establish asbestos certificates which should feed into public asbestos registries, be made available to workers engaging in renovation or demolition works, as well as protect buyers and tenants both from dangers to their health and safety and financially. The report calls for a legislative proposal for mandatory screening before selling or renting out a building and establish asbestos certificates for buildings constructed before 2005. Since asbestos is a heritance problem affecting the European society as a whole, owners of buildings engaging in asbestos removal should receive adequate support with financing made available both from European and national funds.


 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY (15.7.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs</CommissionInt>


<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on protecting workers from asbestos</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2182(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>Manuel Bompard</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible:

 to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas a financial framework, based on the use of Union Structural and Investment Funds, should be established to support building owners and linking the removal of asbestos to other public policies and programmes (such as energy efficiency, improvements of the living environment and social housing) for reasons of efficiency and the use of synergies;

B. whereas Article 37 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union requires a high level of environmental protection and the improvement of the quality of the environment to be integrated into the policies of the Union and ensured in accordance with the principle of sustainable development;

C. whereas, according to Article 191(1) TFEU, Union policy on environment is to contribute to the pursuit of objectives; such as protecting the health of its citizens, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, promoting the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources, and promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems;

D. whereas, according to Article 191(2) TFEU, Union policy on environment is to be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay;

E. whereas, the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is becoming universally recognised as the number of states recognising this right has grown over the last few years, with more than 155 countries recognising that right, or elements of that right, in their national legal systems;

1. Recalls that the European Pillar of Social Rights calls for a high level of protection of workers’ health and safety at work, including from exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at the workplace; stresses that the Union must ensure the right of all people living in the Union to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment; stresses that the European Green Deal sets the ambition of zero pollution, to be delivered through a cross-cutting strategy to protect citizens’ health from environmental degradation and pollution while calling at the same time for a just transition that leaves nobody behind; underlines that the Union Action Plan: 'Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil' aims to reduce pollution “to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems and that respect the boundaries our planet can cope with, thus creating a toxic-free environment”;

2. Stresses that the Union must ensure a high level of human health protection in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities;

3. Recalls that asbestos remains one of the most significant occupational health challenges and that 125 million people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace[53], despite its health risks having been known for decades;

4. Points out that approximately 250 000 people die each year as a result of asbestos exposure[54]; points out that, in recent years, the rate of death from asbestos fibres has even accelerated; stresses that vulnerable groups, which suffer the most from these health consequences and often have limited access to health care, should be supported by dedicated funding;

5. Recalls that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), recognised asbestos as a proven carcinogen (group 1) responsible for lung cancers and mesothelioma as well as larynx and ovarian cancers; stresses that all types of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma – caused by the inhalation of asbestos-suspended fibres thin enough to reach the alveoli and long enough to exceed the size of macrophages, as well as different types of cancer caused not only by the inhalation of airborne fibre have been recognised as a health hazard and can take several decades, and in some cases more than 40 years, to become apparent; stresses that asbestos is a non-threshold carcinogen, meaning that every level of exposure, however low, brings a risk of developing cancer; underlines that research on other cancers induced by asbestos should be promoted;

6. Recalls that in addition to active, continuous or discontinuous exposure of workers to asbestos, there are passive occupational exposures concerning people working in the vicinity of workers working with asbestos;

7. Stresses the existence of different types of non-occupational exposure to asbestos with potentially significant consequences on human health, whether of para-occupational (including exposure to asbestos dust reported at home by workers), domestic (including the presence of household objects containing asbestos), or environmental (by materials existing in buildings and installations or of industrial origin);

8. Points out that, according to recent studies, non-occupational exposure to asbestos may explain about 20 % of the mesotheliomas in industrialized countries[55];

9. Recalls a World Health Organization (WHO) study[56] which outlines a substantial increase in risk for lung cancer due to co-exposure of tobacco smoke and asbestos fibres; calls on Member States to propose a smoking cessation program to all workers exposed to asbestos; reiterates that smoking should never be a reason to exclude a worker from the recognition of an asbestos-related occupational disease, as well as compensation and medical treatment for the disease;

10. Recalls that asbestos diseases have been observed in populations living or having lived in the vicinity of industrial sites or premises with  friable asbestos, including populations living close to construction sites, train infrastructures, shipyards and power plants, and this sometimes more than thirty years after direct or indirect exposure; stresses that the deterioration of the building stock in the Union increases the risk of environmental exposure which could, in particular, lead to more cases of mesothelioma;

11. Underlines that risks arising from populations exposed to naturally occurring asbestos materials is also an area where information is needed;

12. Points out that, despite the difficulty of assessing it accurately, many studies tend to show an underestimation of environmental exposure to asbestos[57] [58]; recalls that, depending on the source of exposure, environmental exposure levels to asbestos can reach occupational exposure levels[59]; urges the Commission and the Member States in this regard to support research into the risks related to such environmental asbestos exposure pathways;

13. Considers that exposure to asbestos is a form of environmental and health inequality fostering feelings of injustice and being “left behind” among vulnerable groups, particularly in, but not limited to, countries which do not have prevention or victim support schemes;

14. Calls on the European Environment Agency to conduct further research on the presence of asbestos in rivers and their surrounding tributaries, and its effects on vegetation and wildlife, such as the one conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency[60] [61];

15. Stresses that background concentration levels of asbestos in the atmosphere should be monitored and measured across Member States;

16. Calls on the Commission to set out a European strategy for the complete elimination of asbestos; calls on all Member States to adopt national action plans to implement that strategy with financial means and specific roadmaps at local, regional and national levels; considers that the Commission should coordinate the national action plans, in particular through the adoption of a framework directive on this matter; underlines in this context the need for a coherent methodology for risk assessment to ensure a level playing field;

17. Calls on the Commission to create a European framework for public registers to identify the presence of asbestos in the EU and a best practice platform for asbestos removal; stresses the need to establish public registers relating to asbestos and minimum standards relating to their implementation; recalls that such minimum standards relating to public registers need to be linked to health and safety policies and to environmental and public health regulations;

18. Insists that the transition toward a asbestos-free Union should be socially fair, avoid fragmentation of the internal market, and include sufficient and focused support for private owners, employers, microentreprises and small and medium-sized enterprises in transposing these protective measures, in order to facilitate proper compliance; notes that this approach should be targeted to areas of particular risk, or groups of vulnerable people; stresses the polluter pays principle should be taken into account in the attribution of the cost of asbestos removal as far as possible; recalls the importance of adequate financial support from relevant existing Union funds to ensure proper support and to encourage correct and safe removal of any asbestos detected; highlights that actions to enhance prevention are major public health investments for healthier lives but also for the cost-benefit balance in the management of healthcare systems;

19. Stresses the need to fully involve the social partners and other stakeholders, including asbestos victims groups, at Union, national and regional levels in the development, implementation and evaluation of the European Strategy and national plans;

20. Points out that the safe removal of asbestos is an example of the principle of health in all policies and is directly connected to recent and upcoming Union policy initiatives such as the European Green Deal with the “Renovation Wave for Europe - greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives”, set out in the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 (Renovation Wave) and “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan”, set out in the Commission communication of 3 February 2021; recalls that improving early diagnosis, treatments and rehabilitation are priorities of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and should benefit patients suffering from asbestos-related diseases;

21. Insists on the need to carry out long-term epidemiological surveillance to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken; highlights that mesothelioma is a disease, the main risk-factor of which is asbestos and that the number of mesotheliomas diagnosed is a relevant indicator for epidemiological surveillance; calls therefore for the declaration of mesothelioma to competent authorities to be made mandatory;

22. Acknowledges WHO recommendations[62] that it is not necessary to include asbestos fibres in Annex I to the Drinking Water Directive[63]; which concluded that asbestos fibres in drinking water are of no concern for health; recalls that a study by Italian scientists has raised the important question of whether ingestion of water containing asbestos fibres increases the risk of gastric and colorectal cancers[64]; stresses that potential asbestos-related diseases possibly caused by the ingestion of water containing such fibres coming from asbestos pipes could take several decades to become apparent; stresses that, even if the Italian study alone cannot make it possible to definitively conclude, at this stage, on the link between the ingestion of asbestos via water and the development of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, the precautionary principle should apply given the uncertainties involved; considers that more research should be conducted on this important question; calls on the Member States, therefore, to carry out regular monitoring of the quality of the water used for the abstraction of drinking water and to take the necessary preventive and mitigation measures in case there is a risk to human health;

23. Is concerned about the state of the drinking water distribution network in the Union and the presence of asbestos cement pipes, the deterioration of which releases asbestos fibres into the water; further, recalls that in line with WHO recommendations asbestos-cement pipes should no longer be used or approved for drinking water[65]; considers that, in the framework of the European Strategy for the complete elimination of asbestos, and through the European Recovery Plan and those of the Member States, a comprehensive renovation and asbestos removal plan for the European drinking water distribution network should be drawn up and implemented;

24. Welcomes the opportunity presented by the Renovation Wave for the complete removal of asbestos from buildings;

25. Recalls the anticipated increase in construction work in view of the Renovation Wave which will be accompanied by increased occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos fibres; highlights the need for asbestos to be substituted with energy efficient materials in the context of the Renovation Wave;

26. Stresses that, as the demand for asbestos-related work is likely to grow significantly with the Renovation Wave, there is a crucial need to support research and development in order to ensure the highest possible level of protection for workers and the local population exposed to asbestos during rehabilitation and demolition operations, and to improve the reliability and speed of asbestos screening, measurement, removal, and safe waste management;

27. Is concerned that a large proportion of public schools built before 2005 or the year of the national asbestos ban still contain asbestos, creating a risk of exposure for children or students and for school staff; urges that a census of schools with asbestos be carried out across Member States and that the renovation of school buildings therefore be considered to be a priority;

28. Recalls that, despite the ban on the use of asbestos, it is still found in many everyday life products still in use, as well as in many ships, trains, machinery, bunkers, tunnels, galleries, pipes in public and private water distribution networks and especially in buildings, including many public and private buildings;

29. Recalls that more information is needed with regard to population exposure through contact with commercial products containing asbestos, such as housing materials and their disturbance through normal activity;

30. Stresses that unsafe working conditions for workers may expose society as a whole to risks of asbestos exposure, in particular the families of the workers concerned especially in the maintenance of work clothes; insists, therefore, on the need to ensure a high level of protection of the health and safety of workers, in particular by providing them with adequate protective equipment and preventing exposure of their relatives to asbestos on work clothing and tools, in particular through appropriate decontamination procedures;

31. Calls on the Member States to improve the number, frequency, and quality of their inspections; considers that the Union and the Member States should go well beyond the minimum objective of the International Labour Organization (ILO) of one inspector for every 10 000 workers;

32. Stresses that some workers are much more exposed to asbestos than others, and that this situation of environmental inequality reinforces the already existing economic inequalities; stresses in particular that construction workers are highly exposed to asbestos; underlines that, in the case of a fire, all existing information regarding the presence and location of asbestos should be shared with firefighters;

33. Calls on the Member States to share best practices on the protection of persons reporting the presence of asbestos, whether through internal or external reporting channels;

34. Stresses that women are also exposed to asbestos-related risks and that women are particularly vulnerable to certain kind of asbestos exposure[66] [67] [68], including in their work life[69] [70]; calls on the Commission to assess if there is a need to revise  relevant legislation to better protect women against exposure to asbestos[71];

35. Considers that citizens should receive equal protection from exposure to asbestos in their living spaces; urges the Commission in this regard to ensure the protection of all citizens by introducing regular screening and exposure limit values for asbestos in living spaces;

36. Calls on the Commission to update, no later than 31 December 2022, the Asbestos at Work Directive[72] with a view to amending the existing binding occupational exposure limit value for asbestos, taking into account the latest scientific knowledge and technical developments, including an evaluation of different types of asbestos fibres and their adverse health effects, as well as to start the process for updating the list of fibroussilicates within the scope of the directive and in this context consider the inclusion of and riebeckite as well as winchite, richterite, fluoro-edenite, and erionite to the list which already cover actinolite, grunerite, anthophyllite,  chrysotile, crocidotile and tremolite;

37. Considers the urgent need for an effective access to justice and redress for all health damage, not only that relating to anxiety, for all asbestos victims; underlines that all medical costs related to asbestos exposure should be covered by the employers when they have failed to take all appropriate measures and to make efforts within their means to prevent asbestos exposure; calls on the Commission to assess the possible need for legislation establishing a general liability regime for diffuse pollution to provide compensation to victims for all damages from diffuse pollution, including that caused by asbestos;

38. Calls on the Commission to support the dissemination of information on the various systems for the safe and orderly removal or disposal of asbestos products based on best available techniques;

39. Stresses that the disposal of asbestos waste in landfills is only a short-term solution, which can lead to the release of asbestos fibres into the environment to the detriment of public health;

40. Highlights the need for the treatment of asbestos waste and the safe handling, removal and substitution of this substance in waste streams to be at the heart of the strategy to be developed by the Commission;

41. Emphasises the need for synergies between the strategy to be developed by the Commission, the circular economy objectives including the labelling system and the strategy for a sustainable built environment; highlights also the need for synergies to be created between the strategy and existing initiatives concerning the development of a knowledge base in relation to the substitution of hazardous substances of concern;

42. Recalls the need for transparency with regard to the presence and composition of asbestos fibres in waste streams with a view to improving dismantling and decontamination techniques in order to facilitate the recovery of waste; encourages the creation of synergies with the database being set up by the European Chemicals Agency to gather information and improve knowledge about substances of concern in products and in products when they become waste;

43. Recalls the need for greater circularity in the construction sector and the importance of preventing asbestos waste from entering the circular economy; insists on the need to ensure the availability of adequate waste facilities for the safe and sustainable disposal of asbestos materials;

44. Stresses that asbestos waste should be made inert prior to its environmentally sound disposal and calls on the Commission to propose a corresponding revision of relevant Union waste legislation;

45. Highlights that the waste management of asbestos is a challenge of strategic significance for the Union given the amount of asbestos still to be removed and already in landfills; highlights that the treatments of asbestos should fully apply the precautionary principle;

46. Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to promote the establishment throughout the Union of centres for the treatment and inertisation of waste containing asbestos, combined with phasing out all delivery of such waste to landfills; urges the Commission and Member States to consider all tools to support research and investment in inerting treatment technologies for asbestos-containing waste;

47. Considers that organised and structured asbestos removal contributes to regional development objectives and should therefore be fully supported by the Union Structural Funds;

48. Highlights the need for the Union to advocate in international fora against the dumping of asbestos in developing countries;

49. Considers that the complete eradication of remaining asbestos and all asbestos-containing products worldwide should be an important objective of the Union;

50. Calls on the Union to work with the WHO, the ILO, the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme, other international organisations and third countries and take all measures to achieve a global prohibition of asbestos, promote higher levels of occupational health and safety protection worldwide and to improve information and support for victims of asbestos-related diseases; urges the Union to take initiatives with asbestos-exporting countries to close asbestos mines; stresses the need for controls on the import of objects from third countries which still allow the use of asbestos and that waste asbestos should not be exported to third countries;

51. Recalls that one third of the people in the WHO European region live in countries which have not yet banned the use of all forms of asbestos[73]; points out that 16 European countries still use asbestos, particularly as a building material, and continue to produce and export it; urges the Commission to take decisive action within the framework of the Neighbourhood Policy in order to achieve a ban and the complete eradication of asbestos on the whole of the European continent and in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea;

52. Urges the Union to consider as a top priority and take all necessary initiatives to include chrysotile asbestos in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention;

53. Stresses that dangerous substances forbidden in the Union, such as asbestos, should not be produced and used by Union undertakings located in third countries; considers that the imposition of a duty of care on Union undertakings may be an appropriate instrument to ensure the contribution of Union undertakings to the global eradication of asbestos and to guarantee access to justice for third-country victims of asbestos-related diseases; calls on the Council to give the Commission a mandate to enter into negotiations on a UN Treaty for Business and Human Rights, taking into account exploitation of dangerous pollutants such as asbestos;

 to incorporate the following recommendations into the annex to its motion for a resolution:

1. The development of models to detect, register, monitor and check asbestos in private and public buildings, land, infrastructure, logistics and piping;

2. The definition of models for monitoring asbestos fibres suspended in the air in the workplace, built-up areas and landfills, abandoned and degrading industrial areas (brownfields) to be rehabilitated, and fibres present in drinking water supplied through asbestos cement pipes;

3. The registration of all cases of mesothelioma;

4. The development of Union-wide information campaigns on asbestos to provide relevant information to workers and their families, employers, owners, tenants, users of buildings and infrastructure, and citizens about the risks, including of the synergistic effect of tobacco use and asbestos exposure, especially on the fact of its delayed and cumulative effects on human health, and existing accompanying measures for the safe removal of asbestos and legal obligations relating to asbestos;

5. The promotion of research and integration of a Union-wide plan in the strategy to be developed by the Commission for the treatment of asbestos waste and the safe handling, removal and substitution of this substance in waste streams;

6. The establishment of centres for the treatment and inerting of waste containing asbestos by providing for the phasing out of the disposal of such waste in landfills and other harmful practices such as its disposal in waterbodies;

7. The development of a strategic plan for the Union to increase its activity and influence on global level with regard to the fight against dumping of asbestos in developing countries;

8. The establishment of a Union framework for national asbestos removal strategies, including a legislative proposal for public and accessible asbestos registers, with minimum standards relating to their implementation, based on asbestos certificates delivered after the screening of buildings to map the exact location of asbestos on public and private sites, and provide accurate information on landfills containing asbestos waste in order to avoid the uncontrolled release of asbestos fibres into the air, the inadvertent displacement of the soil in which these materials are buried, and the associated health risks to citizens;

9. A roadmap to establish asbestos-free workplaces and an asbestos-free environment, which could establish priority sectors, comprise support for safe removal, and be subject to periodic evaluation every five years of the progress made by the national and regional authorities;

10. The monitoring, measurement and access to information with regard to background concentration levels of asbestos in the atmosphere across Member States and the introduction of exposure limit values for living spaces;

11. The identification of funding instruments including both Union and national funds for the implementation of the Strategy to be adopted by the Commission;

12. The need to include asbestos-related diseases as a key issue in preventive public health;

13. The active involvement of the social partners and other stakeholders, such as asbestos victims groups, tenants and environmental organisations, representatives of the national health services and representatives of the operators to the development, implementation and evaluation of the roadmap for asbestos-free workplaces and environments.

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

13.7.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

77

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Bartosz Arłukowicz, Margrete Auken, Simona Baldassarre, Marek Paweł Balt, Traian Băsescu, Aurélia Beigneux, Monika Beňová, Sergio Berlato, Alexander Bernhuber, Malin Björk, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Pascal Canfin, Sara Cerdas, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, Esther de Lange, Christian Doleschal, Marco Dreosto, Bas Eickhout, Cyrus Engerer, Eleonora Evi, Agnès Evren, Pietro Fiocchi, Catherine Griset, Jytte Guteland, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Anja Hazekamp, Martin Hojsík, Pär Holmgren, Jan Huitema, Yannick Jadot, Adam Jarubas, Petros Kokkalis, Ewa Kopacz, Joanna Kopcińska, Peter Liese, Sylvia Limmer, Javi López, César Luena, Fulvio Martusciello, Liudas Mažylis, Joëlle Mélin, Tilly Metz, Giuseppe Milazzo, Dolors Montserrat, Alessandra Moretti, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Ville Niinistö, Ljudmila Novak, Grace O’Sullivan, Stanislav Polčák, Jessica Polfjärd, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Sándor Rónai, Rob Rooken, Silvia Sardone, Christine Schneider, Günther Sidl, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Annalisa Tardino, Nils Torvalds, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Petar Vitanov, Alexandr Vondra, Pernille Weiss, Emma Wiesner, Michal Wiezik, Tiemo Wölken, Anna Zalewska

Substitutes present for the final vote

Manuel Bompard, Antoni Comín i Oliveres, Martin Häusling, Kateřina Konečná, Ulrike Müller

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

77

+

EPP

Bartosz Arłukowicz, Traian Băsescu, Alexander Bernhuber, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, Christian Doleschal, Agnès Evren, Adam Jarubas, Ewa Kopacz, Esther de Lange, Peter Liese, Fulvio Martusciello, Liudas Mažylis, Dolors Montserrat, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Ljudmila Novak, Stanislav Polčák, Jessica Polfjärd, Christine Schneider, Pernille Weiss, Michal Wiezik

S&D

Marek Paweł Balt, Monika Beňová, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Sara Cerdas, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Cyrus Engerer, Jytte Guteland, Javi López, César Luena, Alessandra Moretti, Sándor Rónai, Günther Sidl, Petar Vitanov, Tiemo Wölken

Renew

Pascal Canfin, Martin Hojsík, Jan Huitema, Ulrike Müller, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Nils Torvalds, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Emma Wiesner

Greens/ALE

Margrete Auken, Bas Eickhout, Eleonora Evi, Martin Häusling, Pär Holmgren, Yannick Jadot, Tilly Metz, Ville Niinistö, Grace O'Sullivan

ID

Simona Baldassarre, Aurelia Beigneux Marco Dreosto, Catherine Griset, Sylvia Limmer, Joëlle Mélin, Silvia Sardone, Annalisa Tardino

ECR

Sergio Berlato, Pietro Fiocchi, Joanna Kopcińska, Giuseppe Milazzo, Rob Rooken, Alexandr Vondra, Anna Zalewska

The Left

Malin Björk, Manuel Bompard, Anja Hazekamp, Petros Kokkalis, Kateřina Konečná

NI

Antoni Comín i Oliveres

 

 

1

0

ID

Teuvo Hakkarainen

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


 

 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION (2.9.2021)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on Protecting workers from asbestos</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2182(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): <Depute>Anne‑Sophie Pelletier</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible:

 to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas the use of asbestos fibres and products containing these fibres added intentionally has been prohibited as from January 2005[74] and Member States must ensure the complete phase-out of asbestos fibres at the latest by 2025[75];

B. whereas asbestos is acknowledged, as is well established and documented, as a cause of lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancers and mesothelioma, with a latency period of 20 to 55 years following exposure; whereas a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health puts the number of persons dying each year as a result of exposure to asbestos at some 250 000[76];

C. whereas, despite the European-level ban on its use, asbestos exposure is the number one cause of mesothelioma cancer, and whereas it also affects individuals outside the working environment through a continuous increase in cancers and mesothelioma as well as other non-malignant lung and pleural disorders, linked to passive, limited exposure; whereas many cases of asbestos-related diseases are not recognised as occupational diseases and more data is needed;

D. whereas Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (‘the REACH Regulation’) specified that the manufacture, selling and use of asbestos fibres and products containing these fibres added intentionally is prohibited and whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/1005 amending Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation aims at ensuring the complete phase out of asbestos products in Member States by 1 July 2025;

E. whereas asbestos is still present in many administrative buildings, schools, housing, infrastructure and public-transport facilities and water supply networks; whereas knowledge about the use and presence of that substance is dwindling over time; whereas the presence of asbestos and the absence of knowledge of this represents a danger for all occupiers and users of buildings;

F. whereas a substantial share of the existing built environment in the Union is older than 50 years and, according to the EU Building Stock Observatory, in most Member States half of the residential stock was built before 1970 when asbestos was widely used; whereas the asbestos residues in buildings and constructions containing asbestos poses a threat to many different groups of the population, including home-owners, building users, occupants and workers, including when it is friable, which leads to the release of dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested by people passively exposed to it;

G. whereas because of the lifespan of buildings with asbestos-containing components, the deterioration of materials, and the energy-related building renovation wave, renovation processes will be complex, posing immediate risks of exposure for persons on or near construction sites, as well as future risks for users and occupiers because of the slow asbestos-dust dispersal rate;

H. whereas Parliament[77] and the social partners[78] have recognised the usefulness of public registers of asbestos presence and the usefulness of technical certificates as introduced in several Member States; whereas some Member States have developed registers of buildings containing asbestos; whereas this is a good starting point for introducing such a requirement in all Member States; whereas the Renovation Wave Strategy that aims at doubling the renovation rate of buildings in the next ten years to increase energy and resources efficiency in the building sector is an opportunity to create and implement national registers of asbestos presence;

I. whereas the removal of asbestos without financial help places a significant financial burden on building owners which, in specific cases, may also indirectly affect tenants; whereas the introduction of requirements for the safe removal of asbestos must be socially fair thus must be accompanied by appropriate measures to support owners to finance the needed renovations, as well as measures for SMEs conducting works; whereas consumers should be protected by combatting fraud practices and enhancing the market surveillance;

J. whereas the legislation in force in some Member States only puts certain obligations on owners, administrators or managers of asbestos-containing buildings when they start to use the building or intend to start its demolition, and not when selling a building equipped with asbestos-containing products;

K. whereas the Commission’s commitment to present a legislative proposal to further reduce workers’ exposure to asbestos in 2022 and its plan to prevent the increase of victims of asbestos-related problems are welcomed steps, and the renovation wave, while offering a unique opportunity to modernise housing infrastructure for the benefit of all consumers in the Union, must be done in the safest conditions for all;

1. Calls on the Commission to bring forward, on the basis of Article 169(3) and Article 114(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and taking into account existing national regulations as well as an impact assessment on most efficient models, a legislative proposal introducing mandatory screening for the presence of asbestos in buildings constructed before 2005, or the year in which the national ban on asbestos was introduced, before their sale or rental, while being socially fair and taking into consideration the owners of the buildings; requires that this proposal lays down minimum requirements for locating, identifying and reporting the presence of asbestos in buildings constructed before 2005, or the year in which the national ban on asbestos was introduced, under the following conditions:

a. the screening shall consists of a surface diagnosis of the presence of asbestos by a professional entity with appropriate qualifications and permits provided for by national and Union law and must be followed by a proposal for action to reduce the risk posed by any asbestos detected using the best techniques available; this shall be without prejudice to the obligations under Directive 2009/148/EC[79];

b. the screening shall be validated by an asbestos risk certificate detailing the areas screened, the concentration of asbestos fibres, the quantity and location of asbestos containing materials estimated and, where appropriate, the proposed action to be taken to reduce the risk posed by asbestos;

c. the result of the screening shall be communicated to a competent national body through a rapid procedure and one stop shop; that body shall maintain a national register of asbestos risk reduction certificates, while the one-stop shop shall inform and provide advice to owners on:

- the applicable legislation;

- the correct and safe way to remove the detected asbestos, where this is technically possible;

- how to safely encapsulate, preserve, mark and monitor asbestos containing parts which cannot be removed in the short term;

- the list of certified operators and information on the financial support available;

d. the Commission shall provide guidance to Member States on the design of national asbestos registers in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the internal market; access of this register shall be free of charge for owners, buyers and tenants of buildings, as well as workers and SMEs; the certificate shall be annexed to the sales contract and shall be made available to the tenants;

e. in order to protect users or occupants as effectively as possible, the screening and, if required, the removal, or, if technically not possible in the short term, the encapsulation shall  be carried out by qualified and certified operators in accordance with Directive 2009/148/EC and national law and practice, and under the supervision of a competent national body;

f. the certificate shall be forwarded to the buyer, and made available to the lessor, as well as on request to professionals carrying out work in the building or to the occupants and users;

g. the certificate should be renewed at the latest five years after it was issued, in order to update the findings contained therein;

h. effective, proportionate and dissuasive fines could be established for owners of buildings who do not have a valid certificate before selling a building; sellers or lessors of buildings shall be liable for those obligations, the period of liability being established by Member States; fines could be allocated by Member States to ad hoc funds to finance the removal of asbestos and support the victims of asbestos-related problems;

2. Calls on the Commission to base its impact assessment to be prepared for its legislative proposal on:

- the best and most efficient methods for screening buildings for presence of asbestos;

- safe and cost-efficient methods to remove asbestos from buildings (mandatory training for workers, use of the most up-to-date technologies, relocation of inhabitants in surroundings during dusty works) covering both statutory obligations and incentives, in order to reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos for users and inhabitants of buildings;

- accompanying measures for SMEs to facilitate the implementation of regulations related to asbestos, including financial incentives and adequate financial support for owners of buildings, including abandoned buildings, engaging in the identification and removal of asbestos;

3. Calls on the Commission and Member States to take action in order to raise awareness about asbestos in buildings constructed before 2005, or the year in which the national ban on asbestos was introduced, and to introduce a legal procedure for asbestos removal with regard to the inhabitants’ and proprietors’ perspective; encourages Member States to launch awareness-raising campaigns accompanying measures for SMEs; insists that the transition toward a European Union free of asbestos should be socially fair and include support for private owners and SMEs; underlines that special attention has to be paid to the abandoned buildings and facilities that may as well contain asbestos and calls on the Commission and Member States to find a viable solution for their inclusion in national registers of asbestos;

4. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote public information campaigns, in order to raise awareness on the risks related to all varieties of asbestos and to all level of exposure, including secondary exposure;

5. Notes the additional administrative obligations of such new requirements; stresses that both the monitoring requirement and the removal of asbestos need appropriate financial support from the Union budget; encourages Member States to grant potential funds and financial support for owners of the buildings to undertake the significant costs induced by the screening for the presence of asbestos and avoid the risk of buildings being abandoned;

6. Underlines that currently Member States can allocate European Structural and Investment Funds for handling and removal of asbestos in line with the objectives of the respective national or regional programmes; stresses within this context the unique opportunities given in this regard by the Green Deal, the Next Generation EU and the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework; highlights that building owners should have the possibility to have access directly or indirectly to those financial support mechanisms, for financing maintenance, renovation and demolition works related to the removal of asbestos;

7. Insists on the need to develop standardisation process to remove asbestos fibres to reduce the burden of the procedure and ease administrative tasks on companies, especially for SMEs; calls on the Commission to draw up an umbrella programme of all financial supports available for owners and for Member State actions aimed at removing and safely disposing of asbestos, including information and education activities, given the negative impact of asbestos on people’s health and the considerable cost of detecting and removing it;

8. Calls on the Commission to establish guidance for national asbestos removal plans, under which Member States should define and implement asbestos removal objectives for public and private buildings, establish one-stop-shops to centralise actions and information regarding asbestos removal plans; the one-stop-shop set up by Member States could also serve as a national contact point to assist victims and their families and Member States should consider establishing clear and efficient compensation mechanisms for the victims of asbestos related diseases;

9. Highlights that the European guidance for national asbestos removal plans should include the establishment of a European platform for national authorities to report the presence of asbestos in the view of mapping and exchanging good practices on its removal and safe disposals; adds that this platform should be fully accessible to the general public and should include data reported in the national registers;

10. Stresses that national asbestos removal plans should prioritise certain buildings, such as schools, gyms and social housing, and be subject to regular evaluations and reviews;

11. Stresses that the provisions of Union law on market surveillance and compliance of products should be used to prevent the illegal placement and the use of asbestos on the internal market and highlights in this regard the importance of enhanced market surveillance activities; recalls that strengthening efforts to keep non-compliant products, also containing asbestos, from the Union market was identified as a priority in the Commission’s communication of 28 October 2015 “Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business”.

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

1.9.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Alex Agius Saliba, Andrus Ansip, Pablo Arias Echeverría, Alessandra Basso, Brando Benifei, Adam Bielan, Hynek Blaško, Biljana Borzan, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Markus Buchheit, Andrea Caroppo, Anna Cavazzini, Dita Charanzová, Deirdre Clune, David Cormand, Carlo Fidanza, Evelyne Gebhardt, Alexandra Geese, Sandro Gozi, Maria Grapini, Svenja Hahn, Virginie Joron, Eugen Jurzyca, Marcel Kolaja, Kateřina Konečná, Andrey Kovatchev, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques, Morten Løkkegaard, Adriana Maldonado López, Antonius Manders, Beata Mazurek, Leszek Miller, Anne-Sophie Pelletier, Miroslav Radačovský, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Tomislav Sokol, Ivan Štefanec, Róża Thun und Hohenstein, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Kim Van Sparrentak, Marion Walsmann, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Salvatore De Meo

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

45

+

ECR

Adam Bielan, Carlo Fidanza, Eugen Jurzyca, Beata Mazurek

ID

Alessandra Basso, Hynek Blaško, Markus Buchheit, Virginie Joron, Jean-Lin Lacapelle

NI

Miroslav Radačovský

PPE

Pablo Arias Echeverría, Andrea Caroppo, Deirdre Clune, Salvatore De Meo, Andrey Kovatchev, Antonius Manders, Andreas Schwab, Tomislav Sokol, Ivan Štefanec, Róża Thun und Hohenstein, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Marion Walsmann

Renew

Andrus Ansip, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Dita Charanzová, Sandro Gozi, Svenja Hahn, Morten Løkkegaard, Marco Zullo

S&D

Alex Agius Saliba, Brando Benifei, Biljana Borzan, Evelyne Gebhardt, Maria Grapini, Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques, Adriana Maldonado López, Leszek Miller, Christel Schaldemose

The Left

Kateřina Konečná, Anne-Sophie Pelletier

Verts/ALE

Anna Cavazzini, David Cormand, Alexandra Geese, Marcel Kolaja, Kim Van Sparrentak

 

0

-

 

 

 

0

0

 

 

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

27.9.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

47

0

7

Members present for the final vote

Atidzhe Alieva-Veli, Abir Al-Sahlani, Dominique Bilde, Gabriele Bischoff, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Milan Brglez, Jordi Cañas, David Casa, Leila Chaibi, Margarita de la Pisa Carrión, Jarosław Duda, Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Nicolaus Fest, Loucas Fourlas, Cindy Franssen, Helmut Geuking, Elisabetta Gualmini, Alicia Homs Ginel, France Jamet, Agnes Jongerius, Radan Kanev, Ádám Kósa, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Katrin Langensiepen, Miriam Lexmann, Elena Lizzi, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Dragoş Pîslaru, Dennis Radtke, Elżbieta Rafalska, Guido Reil, Daniela Rondinelli, Mounir Satouri, Monica Semedo, Vincenzo Sofo, Beata Szydło, Eugen Tomac, Romana Tomc, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Nikolaj Villumsen, Marianne Vind, Maria Walsh, Stefania Zambelli, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Alex Agius Saliba, Konstantinos Arvanitis, Johan Danielsson, Gheorghe Falcă, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Sara Matthieu, Beata Mazurek, Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

47

+

ID

Dominique Bilde, France Jamet, Elena Lizzi, Stefania Zambelli

NI

Ádám Kósa, Daniela Rondinelli

PPE

David Casa, Jarosław Duda, Gheorghe Falcă, Loucas Fourlas, Cindy Franssen, Helmut Geuking, Radan Kanev, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Miriam Lexmann, Dennis Radtke, Eugen Tomac, Romana Tomc, Maria Walsh, Tomáš Zdechovský

Renew

Atidzhe Alieva-Veli, Abir Al-Sahlani, Jordi Cañas, Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Dragoş Pîslaru, Monica Semedo, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne

S&D

Alex Agius Saliba, Gabriele Bischoff, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Milan Brglez, Johan Danielsson, Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Elisabetta Gualmini, Alicia Homs Ginel, Agnes Jongerius, Marianne Vind

The Left

Konstantinos Arvanitis, Leila Chaibi, Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Nikolaj Villumsen

Verts/ALE

Katrin Langensiepen, Sara Matthieu, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Mounir Satouri

 

0

-

 

 

 

7

0

ECR

Beata Mazurek, Margarita de la Pisa Carrión, Elżbieta Rafalska, Vincenzo Sofo, Beata Szydło

ID

Nicolaus Fest, Guido Reil

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1]  OJ L 330, 16.12.2009, p. 28.

[2]  OJ L 153, 18.6.2010, p. 13.

[3]  OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, p. 1.

[4]  OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 50.

[5]  OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 102.

[6]  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0074.

[7]   https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/581397/EPRS_BRI(2016)581397_EN.pdf.

[8]  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asbestos-elimination-of-asbestos-related-diseases.

[9]  https://publications.iarc.fr/Book-And-Report-Series/Iarc-Monographs-On-The-Identification-Of-Carcinogenic-Hazards-To-Humans/Arsenic-Metals-Fibres-And-Dusts-2012.

[10]  Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1).

 

[11]  Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1005 of 22 June 2016 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards asbestos fibres (chrysotile) (OJ L 165, 23.6.2016, p. 4).

[12]  Understanding a Man-Made Epidemic: The Relation between Historical Asbestos Consumption and Mesothelioma Mortality in Belgium, Van den Borre, Laura & Deboosere, Patrick, Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, 2017.

[13]   Environmental exposure to asbestos, from geology to mesothelioma, Bayram, Mehmeta; Bakan and Nur Dilekb, Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, 2014.

[14]  https://www.etui.org/sites/default/files/Web-executive%20summary-cancer-final.pdf

[15]  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0371.

[16]  Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (recast) (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, p. 60).

[18]  Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).

[21]  Washington State Department of Health (2009), Advisory for Swift Creek Naturally Occurring  Asbestos.  United States Environmental Protection Agency, Swift Creek   (https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=3639)

[22]  Agostino Di Ciaula, Valerio Gennaro. Rischio clinico da ingestione di fibre di amianto in acqua potabile. Epidemiologia&Prevenzione, https://epiprev.it/3608

[23]  https://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-drink/pdf/20171215_EC_project_report_final_corrected.pdf - point 13.1

[24]  WHO, Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases 2018.

[25]  Furuya, Sugio; Chimed-Ochir, Odgerel; Takahashi, Ken; David, Annette; Takala, Jukka. 2018. "Global Asbestos Disaster" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15, no. 5: 1000. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15051000

[26]  ECHA Scientific report for evaluation of limit values for asbestos at the workplace, 1 February 2021.

[27]  Commission Recommendation C(2003) 3297 of 19 September 2003 concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases (OJ L 238, 25.9.2003, p. 28).

[28]  https://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2015/04/at-least-one-in-three-europeans-can-be-exposed-to-asbestos-at-work-and-in-the-environment

[29]  The existing text reads as follows:

1. This Directive shall apply to activities in which workers are or may be exposed in the course of their work to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos.”

[30]  The deleted paragraph 3 reads as follows:

“3. Provided that worker exposure is sporadic and of low intensity, and if it is clear from the results of the risk assessment referred to in paragraph 2 that the exposure limit for asbestos will not be exceeded in the air of the working area, Articles 4, 18 and 19 may be waived where the work involves:

(a) short, non-continuous maintenance activities in which only non-friable materials are handled;

(b) removal without deterioration of non-degraded materials in which the asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix;

(c) encapsulation or sealing of asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition;

(d) air monitoring and control, and the collection of samples to ascertain whether a specific material contains asbestos.”

[31]  The existing text reads as follows:

4. Member States shall, following consultation with representatives from both sides of industry, in accordance with national law and practice, lay down practical guidelines for the determination of sporadic and low-intensity exposure, as provided for in paragraph 3.”

[32]  The existing text reads as follows: “1. Subject to Article 3(3), the measures referred to in paragraphs 2 to 5 shall be taken.”

[33]  The existing text reads as follows:

“3. The notification referred to in paragraph 2 shall be submitted by the employer to the responsible authority of the Member State, before the work commences, in accordance with national laws, regulations and administrative provisions.

The notification must include at least a brief description of:

(a) the location of the worksite;

(b) the type and quantities of asbestos used or handled;

(c) the activities and processes involved;

(d) the number of workers involved;

(e) the starting date and duration of the work;

(f) measures taken to limit the exposure of workers to asbestos.”

 

[34]  The existing text reads as follows:

“The application of asbestos by means of the spraying process and working procedures that involve using low-density (less than 1 g/cm3) insulating or soundproofing materials which contain asbestos shall be prohibited.

Without prejudice to the application of other Community provisions on the marketing and use of asbestos, activities which expose workers to asbestos fibres during the extraction of asbestos or the manufacture and processing of asbestos products or the manufacture and processing of products containing intentionally added asbestos shall be prohibited, with the exception of the treatment and disposal of products resulting from demolition and asbestos removal.”

[35]  The existing text reads as follows: “(b) work processes must be designed so as not to produce asbestos dust or, if that proves impossible, to avoid the release of asbestos dust into the air;”

[36]  The existing text reads as follows: “1. Depending on the results of the initial risk assessment, and in order to ensure compliance with the limit value laid down in Article 8, measurement of asbestos fibres in the air at the workplace shall be carried out regularly.”

[37]  The existing text reads as follows: “2. Sampling must be representative of the personal exposure of the worker to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos.”

[38]  The existing text reads as follows: “5. The duration of sampling must be such that representative exposure can be established for an 8-hour reference period (one shift) by means of measurements or time-weighted calculations.”

[39]  The existing text reads as follows: “6. Fibre counting shall be carried out wherever possible by phase-contrast microscope (PCM) in accordance with the method recommended in 1997 by the World Health Organization (WHO) or any other method giving equivalent results.”

[40]  The existing text reads as follows: “Employers shall ensure that no worker is exposed to an airborne concentration of asbestos in excess of 0,1 fibres per cm3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).”

[41]  The existing text reads as follows:

“1. Where the limit value laid down in Article 8 is exceeded, the reasons for the limit being exceeded must be identified and appropriate measures to remedy the situation must be taken as soon as possible.

Work may not be continued in the affected area until adequate measures have been taken for the protection of the workers concerned.”

[42]  The existing text reads as follows:

“Before beginning demolition or maintenance work, employers shall take, if appropriate by obtaining information from the owners of the premises, all necessary steps to identify presumed asbestos-containing materials.

If there is any doubt about the presence of asbestos in a material or construction, the applicable provisions of this Directive shall be observed.”

[43]  The existing text reads as follows:

“In the case of certain activities such as demolition, asbestos removal work, repairing and maintenance, in respect of which it is foreseeable that the limit value set out in Article 8 will be exceeded despite the use of technical preventive measures for limiting asbestos in air concentrations, the employer shall determine the measures intended to ensure protection of the workers while they are engaged in such activities, in particular the following:

(a)  workers shall be issued with suitable respiratory and other personal protective equipment, which must be worn;

(b)  warning signs shall be put up indicating that it is foreseeable that the limit value laid down in Article 8 will be exceeded; and

(c)  the spread of dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos outside the premises or site of action shall be prevented.”

[44]  The existing text reads as follows:

“1. A plan of work shall be drawn up before demolition work or work on removing asbestos and/or asbestos-containing products from buildings, structures, plant or installations or from ships is started.”

[45]  The existing text reads as follows:

“2. The content of the training must be easily understandable for workers. It must enable them to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in terms of prevention and safety, particularly as regards:

(a)  the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the synergistic effect of smoking;

(b)  the types of products or materials likely to contain asbestos;

(c)  the operations that could result in asbestos exposure and the importance of preventive controls to minimise exposure;

(d)  safe work practices, controls and protective equipment;

(e)  the appropriate role, choice, selection, limitations and proper use of respiratory equipment;

(f)  emergency procedures;

(g)  decontamination procedures;

(h)  waste disposal;

(i) medical surveillance requirements.

3. Practical guidelines for the training of asbestos removal workers shall be developed at Community level.”

[46]  The existing text reads as follows: “Before carrying out demolition or asbestos removal work, firms must provide evidence of their ability in this field. The evidence shall be established in accordance with national laws and/or practice.”

[47]  The existing text reads as follows:

“1. In the case of all activities referred to in Article 3(1), and subject to Article 3(3), appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that:

(a)  the places in which the above activities take place:

(i)  are clearly demarcated and indicated by warning signs;

(ii)  are not accessible to workers other than those who by reason of their work or duties are required to enter them;

(iii)  constitute areas where there should be no smoking;

(b)  areas are set aside where workers can eat and drink without risking contamination by asbestos dust;

(c)  workers are provided with appropriate working or protective clothing; this working or protective clothing remains within the undertaking; it may, however, be laundered in establishments outside the undertaking which are equipped for this sort of work if the undertaking does not carry out the cleaning itself; in that event the clothing shall be transported in closed containers;

(d)  separate storage places are provided for working or protective clothing and for street clothes;

(e)  workers are provided with appropriate and adequate washing and toilet facilities, including showers in the case of dusty operations;

(f)  protective equipment is placed in a well-defined place and checked and cleaned after each use, and appropriate measures are taken to repair or replace defective equipment before further use.”

[48]  The existing text reads as follows:

“In addition to the measures referred to in paragraph 1, and subject to Article 3(3), appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that:”.

[49]  The existing text reads as follows: “1. Subject to Article 3(3), the measures referred to in paragraphs 2 to 5 shall be taken.”

[50]   The existing text reads as follows:

“2. An assessment of each worker’s state of health must be available prior to the beginning of exposure to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos at the place of work.

This assessment must include a specific examination of the chest. Annex I gives practical recommendations to which the Member States may refer for the clinical surveillance of workers; these recommendations shall be adapted to technical progress in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 17 of Directive 89/391/EEC.

A new assessment must be available at least once every 3 years for as long as exposure continues.

An individual health record shall be established in accordance with national laws and/or practice for each worker referred to in the first subparagraph.”

[51]  The existing text reads as follows: “1. Subject to Article 3(3), the measures referred to in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 shall be taken.”

[52]  The existing text reads as follows: “Member States shall keep a register of recognised cases of asbestosis and mesothelioma.”

[53] WHO, Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases 2018.

[54] Furuya, Sugio; Chimed-Ochir, Odgerel; Takahashi, Ken; David, Annette; Takala, Jukka. 2018. "Global Asbestos Disaster" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15, no. 5: 1000. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15051000

[56] WHO, Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases 2018, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Evaluation of the practical implementation of the EU occupational safety and health (OSH) directives in EU Member States.

[57] Krówczyńska M, Wilk E. Environmental and Occupational Exposure to Asbestos as a Result of Consumption and Use in Poland. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(14):2611. Published 2019 Jul 22. doi:10.3390/ijerph16142611

[58] Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) (2016), L'amiante: Présentation, effets sanitaires, expositions et cadre réglementaire (Asbestos: presentation, impact on health, forms of exposure and regulatory framework) (https://www.anses.fr/fr/content/l%E2%80%99amiante)

[59] Haute autorité de Santé (High Authority for Health) (2009), Exposition environnementale à l'amiante (Environmental exposure to asbestos): état des données et conduite à tenir (state of scientific knowledge and action required (https://www.has-sante.fr/jcms/c_759760/fr/exposition-environnementale-a-l-amiante-etat-des-donnees-et-conduite-a-tenir)

[60] Washington State Department of Health (2009), Advisory for Swift Creek Naturally Occurring Asbestos

[61] United States Environmental Protection Agency, Swift Creek (https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=3639)

[62] WHO, Regional office for Europe, Drinking Water Parameter Cooperation Project Support to the revision of Annex I Council Directive 98/83/EC on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption (Drinking Water Directive) Recommendations, 2017.

[63] Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32).

[64] Agostino Di Ciaula, Valerio Gennaro. Rischio clinico da ingestione di fibre di amianto in acqua potabile. Epidemiologia&Prevenzione, https://epiprev.it/3608

[65] https://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-drink/pdf/20171215_EC_project_report_final_corrected.pdf - point 13.1

[66] Panou, V. et al. Non-occupational exposure to asbestos is the main cause of malignant mesothelioma in women in North Jutland, Denmark. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health doi:10.5271/sjweh.3756 http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=3756

[67] Michaela Senek, Angela Tod, Steven Robertson. The gendered Experience of mesothelioma study (GEMS): findings from a survey data analysis. European Respiratory Journal Sep 2020, 56 (suppl 64) 1684; DOI: 10.1183/13993003.congress-2020.1684

[68] Vasiliki Panou, Ulla Moller Weinreich, Jens Bak, Mogens Vyberg, Christos Meristoudis, Oyvind Omland, Oluf Dimitri Roe, Johnni Hansen. Gender differences in asbestos exposure and disease location in 327 patients with mesothelioma. European Respiratory Journal Sep 2017, 50 (suppl 61) PA4294; DOI: 10.1183/1393003.congress-2017.PA4294

[69] Marinaccio A, Corfiati M, Binazzi A ReNaM Working Group, et al The epidemiology of malignant mesothelioma in women: gender differences and modalities of asbestos exposure Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2018;75:254-262.

[70] Camargo MC, Stayner LT, Straif K, et al. Occupational exposure to asbestos and ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(9):1211-1217. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003283

[71] Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (OJ No L 348, 28.11.92, p. 1)

[72] Directive 2009/148/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work (OJ L 330, 16.12.2009, p. 28–36)

[73] https://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2015/04/at-least-one-in-three-europeans-can-be-exposed-to-asbestos-at-work-and-in-the-environment

[74] For the current rules on the prohibition of asbestos, see Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.).

[75] See Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1005 of 22 June 2016 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)  as regards asbestos fibres (chrysotile) (OJ L 165, 23.6.2016, p. 4.).

[77]  European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2013 on asbestos-related occupational health risks and prospects for abolishing all existing asbestos (OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 102).

[78]  Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 February 2015 on ‘Freeing the EU from asbestos’ (OJ C 251, 31.7.2015 , p. 13 ).

[79]  Directive 2009/148/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work (OJ L 330, 16.12.2009, p. 28.)

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