EUROPE SAYS YES TO CONTROLLED AND SAFE USE OF GROUP 1 IARC PRODUCTS SO, WHAT ABOUT CHRYSOTILE?

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In the last days of 2017, the Official Journal of the European Union published a Directive adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reinforcing its 2004 Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work, setting binding exposure limits. In other words, they stated their belief that safe and controlled use of these potentially dangerous products is actually possible, and should be encouraged.The new Binding Occupational Exposure Levels cover products classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) such as chromium VI compounds, wood dust, vinyl chloride. In the latter case of silica, which ─ not unlike chrysotile until a few years ago ─ is widely used in a broad range of everyday products from bricks to windows to road building materials, a responsible exposure limit will be set: the regulation replaces the voluntary social dialogue between employers and workers which will become a complement to the new rule "in particular to support effective and practical implementation of limit values". The new Directive will come into effect as of January 17, 2020 in all of Europe's member States.If this is the preferred approach for a product so widely used in such a wide variety of industrial uses why, one must ask, couldn't it be appropriate for regulating the use of chrysotile? The ICA has long advocated the implementation of a limit exposure of 1f/cc as part of a comprehensive approach to its safe and controlled use. Europe is telling us that well designed and well enforced regulation is far better than banishment. 

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