Protecting workers through stricter rules on carcinogens  

Stricter EU rules to protect workers from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens will be debated on Wednesday and put to a final vote on Thursday.

The new rules add eleven substances to the existing list of harmful substances, which are subject to exposure limits. For two cancer-causing substances already on the list, i.e. hardwood dust and vinyl chloride monomer, the limits that workers can be exposed to have been lowered.

Employers will have to assess the risk of exposure for workers and take preventive measures. MEPs also oblige the Commission to assess the possibility of including reprotoxic substances, i.e. those which affect sexual function and fertility, by the first quarter of 2019.

Quick Facts

Cancer is the primary cause of work-related deaths in the EU. The new rules aim to potentially save 100 000 lives over the next 50 years. They will particularly benefit workers in the construction sector, and chemical, automotive, wood working and furniture industries, manufacturers of food products and textiles, the healthcare sector and hospitals.

Procedure:  ordinary legislative procedure


Debate: Wednesday 25 October

Vote: Thursday 26 October