Inter-institutional agreement on Wood and Silica Dust

On 11 July 2017 the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers reached a provisional agreement in favour of stricter exposure limits to substances believed to cause cancer among workers:

  • Silica dust: a limit value set at 0.1 mg/m3 has been introduced in the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, in line thus with EBC-FIEC technical suggestions and the recommendations of the European Commission. However, the EC committed itself to assessing the need to modify the limit value for respirable crystalline silica dust as part of the next evaluation of the implementation of the Directive.
  • Hardwood dust: there will be an exposure limit value of 3 mg/m3 for 5 years after the entry into force of the Directive and thereafter a limit of 2 mg/m3
  • Regarding health surveillance, the doctor or authority responsible may indicate that health surveillance must continue after the end of exposure for as long as they consider it necessary to safeguard the health of the worker concerned.
The final vote on this piece of legislation should take place next autumn.
The European Commission will have to assess the possibility of including reprotoxic substances in the scope of the Directive by the first quarter of 2019 at the latest, and may present a legislative proposal on the matter.