MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos

MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos
Photo by SELİM ARDA ERYILMAZ on Unsplash

Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Commission to create a strategy for removing all abestos from buildings in order to reduce the health risks posed to workers exposed to the highly dangerous carcinogenic agent.

Asbestos causes between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths per year in the EU, and the MEPs say that all known asbestos-related health issues should be regonised as occupational diseases so that those affected can be adequately compensated.

They’re also asking that the current occupational exposure limit value be reduced from the current 0.1 fibres/cm3 to 0.001 fibres/cm3.

“On dusty ceilings and in narrow basements, over the next decade construction workers will risk being exposed to our past massive use of asbestos fibers, when European buildings will be climate-renovated as part of the Green Wave,” said Nikolaj Villumsen (The Left, DK) in a press release.

“It requires action now. I insist that Europe’s green transition must ensure a safe working environment. No one should die from going to work.”

The resolution adopted on Wednesday recognises asbestos as “one of the most significant occupational health challenges in the EU.”

The European strategy MEPs are asking for would contain new legislative proposals in addition to an update of current legislation regarding the protection of workers from asbestos.

Asbestos was used worldwide in building and other materials in many areas of daily life before its adverse health effects were known.

Eighty percent of the occupational cancers recognised in Europe are asbestos-related.

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