Fighting Cancer Should not be a Trade Secret

The European Commission, Governments, employers and trade unions today agreed at a conference organised by the Austrian Presidency in Vienna to extend their collaboration to fight work-related cancers .

The initiative aimed at sharing workplace practices that prevent exposure to carcinogens in the workplace was launched in Amsterdam in May 2016 with ETUC, BusinessEurope, the European Commission, the European Agency for Safety & Health at Work and two EU countries (Netherlands and Austria).

The work of the ‘Roadmap on Carcinogens’ is now being extended until the Finnish Presidency of the EU in 2019 and will allow trade unions, labour inspectors, businesses, OSH professionals and other actors and companies throughout Europe to keep exchanging good safety practices to prevent occupational cancers, such as substitution of harmful substances and to implement new exposure limits and prevent occupational cancers.

It is essential that all our partners put in place actions and keep up the fight against the main cause of death by working conditions in the European Union” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary fighting work related cancer should not be a trade secret.

This initiative is also needed to complement the ongoing revision of the Carcinogens & Mutagens Directive  and the adoption at EU level of Binding Occupational Exposure Limit for the most prevalent carcinogens at the workplace” she added

The Directive was amended in 2017 to introduce new limits for inhalation exposure for 11 new carcinogens[i]. A second and a third revision are underway and could lead to the adoption of limit values for another batch of 6 and 5 carcinogens respectively. Voluntary initiatives can help companies comply with these new BOELs.

Every year more than 100 000 people die in the EU as a result of exposure to cancer-causing agents at work. Exposure to Diesel Engine Exhaust Emissions (DEEE) is, for example, affecting more than 3,6 million workers in the EU and the possible adoption of a BOEL for DEEE could help avoid 230 000 deaths by occupational cancers in the coming 60 years.

For more on the initiiatve see ttps:// and

For more on the revision of the CMD at

[i]  Directive (EU) 2017/2398