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EMPL MEPs ready to negotiate limit values for lead and diisocyanates

07 септември 2023 13:18, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 7 месеца, брой четения: 340
European Parliament

The Employment and Social Affairs committee approved a draft report that aims to protect workers’ health by lowering occupational exposure to lead and diisocyanates.


On Thursday, Employment and Social Affairs MEPs adopted a draft report on limit values for lead and its inorganic compounds and diisocyanates with 37 votes in favour, 4 against and 3 abstentions.


Both lead and diisocyanates are likely to be used during building renovations and in the production of batteries, wind turbines and electric vehicle lighters. By limiting exposure to these chemicals, the EU makes sure to protect those working to ensure the green transition.




Diisocyanates are a group of chemicals used to produce polyurethane, a key material for insulation in building and appliances. Exposure to diisocyanates is one of the most common causes of occupational respiratory diseases such as asthma.


There are currently no limits values for diisocyanates at EU level. MEPs propose to maintain the exposure limits set by the European Commission but call on the Commission to launch a revision of these limits values by 2029.


Better protecting female workers


Exposure to lead can affect sexual function and fertility for both men and women. The Commission has updated the rules from 1982 to limit exposure to lead and lowered the limit values currently in place.


MEPs consider these limits not sufficient for female workers at childbearing age and propose a revision of the limit values every five years, as well as binding rules to further protect women and, in particular, pregnant women.


They also propose medical surveillance for all workers exposed to lead and its inorganic compounds.


Historical exposure


Some workers have been occupationally exposed to lead over several years and have therefore accumulated blood-lead levels well above any new limit value. According to MEPs, all necessary measures must be taken to ensure that the blood-lead levels of these workers decrease by, for example, assigning them different tasks.


MEPs also call on the Commission to come up with new rules as regards the limit values for substances such as lithium, cobalt and benzene.




Rapporteur Nikolaj Villumsen (The Left, DK), said: “No one should die or get sick from doing their job. With this report, we take a major step in protecting our workers from exposure to dangerous chemicals such as lead and diisocyanates, a step that is long overdue. For lead, we will significantly lower the exposure limit - as the current value is more than 40 years old. With the first ever EU-limit value for diisocyanates we will protect the more than 4 million workers in the EU exposed to them every year. This is a victory in the fight against harmful substances."


Next steps


Parliament will be ready to start negotiations with the Council after confirmation during the plenary session next week.