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EU parliament votes in favor of better chemical protection for workers

Yesterday, the European Parliament’s employment committee voted to amend the directive regulating carcinogens or mutagens at work. The original proposal coming from the scientific committee (SCOEL) has been criticised by both organisations protecting the environment and workers as cynical and highly influenced by industry lobbying. The employment committee sent a clear message that the protection for workers needs to be solid and not cave to compromises risking hundreds of thousands of lives. The committee not only chose to lower the binding limit values for exposure of i.e. Chromium VI to levels corresponding to those set in REACH. They also proposed to include reprotoxic substances to be covered by the directive.

“This vote is a big step in the right direction. Approximately 1 million workers in Europe are affected only by the limit values for Chromium VI, so the implications are significant.  The European Parliament should follow this path laid out by the employment committee. The decision is in line with REACH, providing companies with legal certainty and decreasing the sense of confusion sometimes expressed by SMEs applying both pieces of legislation”, says Theresa Kjell, policy advisor at ChemSec.

The plenary vote on the amendments is scheduled for April 2017.