European Commission Sets New Chemical Exposure Limits as Part of Cancer Prevention Effort

The new limits set for these three substances are part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

The European Commission made a revision to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive on September 24, 2020 to set new exposure limit values for the substances acrylonitrile, benzene and nickel compounds.

This is the first action the Commission has taken as part of their plan to reduce the risk of cancer for workers as part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The new chemical limits are intended to benefit a targeted 1.1 million workers, as cancer is the leading cause in work-related deaths in the European Union, according to EU-OSHA.

“Reducing the suffering caused by cancer is a priority for us, and to do so, prevention is key,”said Stella Kyriakiades, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. “We are taking an important step to protect our workers from the exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace and start our work under our upcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.”

The proposal will benefit companies by reducing costs of absences and insurance payments caused by work-related cancer. The next step for the proposal is negotiation by the European Parliament and the Council.

More information on the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive revision can be found at

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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