On Friday 13 May, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, presented the Commission’s proposal to revise the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD). The legislative proposal is very positive since it will open the way to the revision of the CMD after 12 years of paralysis.

We welcome the effort of the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen to update current legislation with new scientific evidence. We know that one of three cancers could be avoided by making healthy lifestyle choices as Health Commissioner Andriukaitis said on the occasion of World Cancer Day. We also have the obligation to protect workers from carcinogens at work. Working environments should not be a risk factor”, said Francesco de Lorenzo, President of ECPC.

For the ECPC, the Commission initiative to amend Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to carcinogens and mutagens at work, is a “very important legislative instrument to fight health inequalities. We will work with the European Parliament and other stakeholders to ensure health monitoring mechanisms for workers exposed to carcinogens with follow-up mechanisms after they leave their employment. We need to ensure an early diagnosis for many deadly cancers that are work related”, recognized Mihaela Militaru, ECPC Director.

Some facts

– In 2012, more than one and a quarter million people died from cancer in the EU-28.

– Cancer is the biggest work related cause of death in the EU.

– Occupational carcinogens pose a threat to 1 in 5 workers.

– Between 8-12% of cancers are attributable to working conditions.

– WHO has classified 107 agents, mixtures, and exposure situations as carcinogenic to humans.

– Every tenth lung cancer death is closely related to risks in the workplace.

Lung cancer, mesothelioma, and bladder cancer are among the most common types of occupational cancers.

Resources and References



– TAKALA, Jukka. “Eliminating Occupational Cancer.” Industrial Health 53.4 (2015): 307–309. PMC. Web. 11 May 2016