Today, the EU Commission presents a new approach to better protect people and the environment from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future.
The package includes:
- A Communication on working towards an asbestos-free future, tackling asbestos in a comprehensive way, from improving diagnoses and treatment of diseases caused by asbestos, to identification and safe removal and waste treatment of asbestos; and
- A proposal to amend the Asbestos at Work Directive to improve workers’ protection by significantly lowering the occupational exposure limit to asbestos.
Although all forms of asbestos are banned in the EU since 2005, asbestos remains present in older buildings. It poses a health threat, particularly when materials containing asbestos are disturbed and fibres are released and inhaled, for instance during renovations. As much as 78% of occupational cancers recognised in the Member States are related to asbestos.
It remains a big problem for insurance brands as they carry out repairs to flood or fire damaged buildings, or restore older, listed buildings. Some insurers are also becoming social landlords and this often means clearing commercial/industrial sites to make way for new apartment blocks in cities and towns.
Therefore, addressing the health risks of exposure to asbestos is essential to protect people’s health and the environment, while ensuring decent living and working conditions. The EU also wants to increase the renovation rate of buildings as part of its Globalist Net Zero agenda. Renovations should improve the health and living conditions for residents, and might reduce their energy bills, although utility companies could simply increase rates per Kwh as consumption falls.
Protecting workers, lowering limits
Workers are at greatest risk of being exposed to cancer-causing asbestos. To improve their protection, the Commission presents today a proposal to amend the Asbestos at Work Directive. This includes a reduction in the exposure limit of asbestos at work to 10 times lower than the current value (from 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre (f/cm³) to 0.01 f/cm³), based on the latest scientific and technological developments.
Together with awareness-raising and other improvements in health prevention and treatment, this proposal will bring us closer to our EU aim of beating cancer. It also creates a level playing field for businesses operating across the EU, while decreasing health care costs related to medical treatment.
The Commission calls upon all EU institutions, Member States, social partners and other stakeholders to accelerate action to achieve an asbestos-free EU for current and future generations. The Commission’s proposal to amend the Asbestos at Work Directive will be discussed by the European Parliament and Member States, with the Commission calling for a swift approval. Once adopted, Member States will have two years to transpose the Directive into national law.
Be the first to comment