(5 October 2022) On 28 September, the European Commission published its proposal to better protect workers from asbestos, by lowering the current occupational exposure limit for asbestos from 100,000 fibres per cubic meter to 10,000 fibres per cubic meter.
This proposal is still 10 times higher than the limit demanded by the European Parliament in its recent report by Nicolaj Villumsen MEP. Such demand was supported by the European trade union movement. The EP is asking for a maximum of 1,000 fibres per cubic meter.
Asbestos is the first cause of cancer at work in Europe, but the EU Commission has decided not to listen to workers demands and the European Parliament. The European Commission must act and protect the lives of those firefighters, waste and construction workers exposed to asbestos by strictly limit the exposure to asbestos. Instead, the European Commission decided to propose a limit value that would require nothing or little for businesses, at the expenses of workers’ lives. Symptoms of diseased linked to exposure to asbestos can appear up to 40 years after the exposure. Not setting a strict limit now means knowingly disregard the health and safety of generations of workers.
EPSU will be actively engage in this debate, together with the EFBWW, to lower the limit value to 1000 fibres per cubic meter alongside the effort of the ETUC.