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Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work

EESC opinion: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal of amendment to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) and the fact that the binding occupational exposure limits (BOELs) have been defined on the basis of scientific and statistical evidence.
  • As in its previous opinion[1], the EESC urges the Commission to carry out an impact assessment to evaluate a possible extension of the CMD to include substances that are harmful to reproduction.
  • The EESC considers it necessary to set up pilot research programmes and, in a second phase, EU-wide programmes to develop life-long health surveillance in the framework of national social security or public health systems for all those who have been exposed to carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic compounds. In accordance with the GDPR[2], this surveillance should be conducted in an anonymous manner.
  • The EESC stresses that in order to improve workers' protection from carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic substances at work, Member States should ensure that labour inspectorates have sufficient financial and human resources to carry out their duties.
  • The EESC recommends that all compounds suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens and/or reprotoxic should undergo scientific analysis in this regard, and that they must be included in the CMD if appropriate.