Analysis of the health, socioeconomic and environmental impacts of a possible amendment to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive 2004/37/EC to include category 1A and 1B reprotoxic substances
Client: European Commission / DG Employment
Occupational health surveillance over many decades has led to the identification of chemicals in the working environment that have had adverse outcomes on reproduction, either on the reproductive capacity of male or female workers or on the children of women exposed during pregnancy.
The EU legislative framework extends protection to workers who are exposed to chemical agents in the course of their work through a number of Directives. Directive 98/24/EC on chemical agents at work lays down minimum technical requirements for the protection of workers from risks arising from chemical agents that are present in the workplace, including reprotoxins.
Directive 2004/37/EC on carcinogens and mutagens in the workplace then serves to provide additional protection from those chemical substances identified as posing more significant risks to human health, namely carcinogens and mutagens category 1A and 1B.
Given the increasing participation of women in the labour force and evidence regarding health effects from occupational exposure to reprotoxins, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission commissioned Milieu and RPA Ltd to analyse the impacts of a possible amendment of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to include reprotoxins.
A first step involved the definition of the problem, whereby Milieu identified reprotoxins category 1A and 1B and mapped the legislation that controls the uses of specific substances and ultimately determine workers exposure to reprotoxins. In addition, Milieu has comprehensively reviewed evidence of impacts on reproductive health linked both with specific substances and with industrial sectors.
A second step in the analysis entailed assessing the baseline scenario, i.e. understanding the status quo in terms of current levels of workers’ exposure to reprotoxins and the protection afforded to workers under existing EU legislation.
In order to understand the degree of protection afforded to workers on the ground, a review of the implementation of relevant legislation in the EU Member States and the countries of the European Economic Area was carried out. In addition, Milieu is contacting relevant stakeholders to enhance our understanding of practices to protect workers in specific industries and technical options for reducing exposure to reprotoxins.
In parallel to this, Milieu is drafting a draft model guidance document and supporting awareness raising materials on the protection of workers from exposure to reprotoxins in the workplace. The guidance is targeted at employers and workers and aims to help them in ensuring that the risks from reprotoxins in the workplace are adequately controlled.
A final step in the analysis involves an assessment of the impact of four distinct policy options aimed at facilitating the protection of workers from risks to their health due to exposure to reprotoxins. This step is being undertaken by our project partners, RPA Ltd.