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Signing of an agreement between the European Commission and ECHA on a OELV watch!

ECHA and the European Commission have signed an agreement mandating the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to regularly develop proposals for occupational exposure limit values (OELVs) from 2020 onwards to better protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals. The first priority under this agreement will be to develop a recommendation on lead as requested by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment.

These proposals for new OELVs will be developed by the CER (Risk Evaluation Committee) expert groups, the same experts who are also working on chemical risk assessments for REACh regulation, with the aim of strengthening the synergy between product/market regulations and occupational health and safety.

This agreement also follows a pilot project conducted between 2017 and 2018, which led to 5 new OELV recommendations submitted to the European Commission for decision. As a reminder, the 5 substances covered by these recommendations for new European occupational exposure limit values were:

  • 4.4′-methylene-bis-[2-chloroaniline] (“MOCA”)
  • arsenic acid and its salts and inorganic compounds
  • benzene
  • acrylonitrile
  • nickel and its derivatives

Some of these substances could already be subject to French indicative or mandatory OELVs.

This active monitoring of OELVs in addition to that of hazardous substances studied under REACh will contribute to increased protection of workers’ health and safety in Europe.

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