HSE Calls Meeting on Next Phase of Carcinogenic Chemicals Research

An important conference of British stakeholders -- technical experts, union representatives, industry personnel, and government officials -- has been set for June 25-26 by the Health and Safety Executive to renew efforts to reduce the risk of workplace exposures to carcinogenic chemicals. HSE said the meeting "will seek agreement on criteria for setting priorities for future activities and possible interventions." The EU REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals) may assist in reducing carcinogenic risks, as well.

HSE has been working on the issue for several years, ever since it and its parent agency, the Health and Safety Commission, agreed in 2002 that its chemical strategy was intended to reduce illness reduction and encourage chemical management in three areas: cancer, respiratory diseases, and skin diseases.  "We want to engage with our key stakeholders and industry experts to inform our decisions on future priorities and work streams. The risk of exposure to chemical carcinogens cannot be reduced by the efforts of one organization or party. We need to rally support from all those with influence in our bid to make workplaces healthier," said Steve Coldrick, who heads HSE's Disease Reduction Program.

HSE also said its work to update the estimated occupational cancer burden "has in its first phase focused on the 6 cancers (mesothelioma, lung, bladder, nose and naval cavities, non-melanoma skin and leukemia) identified by experts as being most associated with workplaces." Results of the first phase will be this summer, with the second phase of research commissioned by HSE soon after.

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