On 13 May 2016, the European Commission put forward a proposal to amend the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC).


Specifically, the Commission suggests reducing exposure limits for 13 carcinogens by incorporating 13 new or changed exposure limits into the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. These limits indicate the maximum concentration at which a chemical carcinogen may be present in the air at a workplace. The EU Commission, for example, wants to add “respirable crystalline silica”, which is categorised as a “process generated substance”, to the Directive. This is the quartz dust produced in areas such as mining, fracking, drilling tunnels or cutting, grinding or milling of siliceous materials such as concrete, brick or stone.  


The Commission’s proposed revision is based on scientific evidence and on intense discussions with scientists, employers, employees, Member State representatives and labour inspectors. It is tabled for discussion in the coming weeks in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.