car emissions © Mike Schmidt

Press release


European Parliament commits to protecting workers from diesel emissions

Carcinogens at work


The European Parliament’s committee on Employment and Social Affairs has today backed the second part of the revision of the directive which protects Europeans against carcinogenic and mutagenic substances in their workplace (1). Under the proposals agreed by the vast majority in committee, the exhaust fumes from diesel engines would be included for the first time. The committee also approved the mandate to proceed to trilogue negotiations.

Karima Delli, Member of the Employment Committee and Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee, comments:

"This an important victory in the fight against cancer, the leading cause of work-related deaths in Europe. Despite the increasing awareness of the dangers of diesel, the Commission failed to include it in their proposals. I am therefore delighted that MEPs have taken up the defence of the health of European workers by including it in the list of substances harmful to health at work, and by proposing appropriate limits for occupational exposure (2). With 3.6 million Europeans exposed to diesel fumes in the course of their work every year, these measures are urgently needed.

"The biggest fight is yet to come, as we will now have to negotiate with Member States, many of whom seem more eager to defend the diesel industry than the health of European citizens. No one should have to put their life at risk to earn their living. Yet every year, 100,000 Europeans die of work related cancer. We now need concrete and ambitious controls to ensure that this legislation will truly deliver."

Notes

(1) Directive 2004/37

(2) The committee proposes a limit value of occupational exposure of 50μg / m3


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