Carcinogens in the workplace: EU protection regime to include new substances

New EU rules to better protect workers from exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic substances were backed by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee recently

MEPs backed the Commission proposal to set exposure limit values (the maximum amount that a substance should be present in workplace air) and/or skin notations (the possibility that a substance could be significantly absorbed through the skin) for harmful carcinogens.

They also agreed to regulate exposure levels for oils used in automobile, rail, marine and aero-transport engines and portable machinery. The Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits has identified that such oils could be absorbed through the skin with potentially harmful effects.

In order to protect the 4 million workers in the EU who are potentially exposed to diesel engine exhaust emissions, MEPs finally amended the original proposal to add exposure limit values also for diesel fumes.

See details on the affected substances at