January 24, 2019

European Chemicals Agency to Provide Recommendations for OELs

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, will soon provide regular recommendations for occupational exposure limits that protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals. Under an agreement with the European Commission, ECHA will be required to assess four to five OELs per year beginning in 2020. The agency will prepare scientific dossiers proposing OEL values for chemicals under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, which sets maximum concentrations for cancer-causing chemicals in workplace air, and the Chemical Agents Directive, which covers risks related to chemical agents at work. According to ECHA’s press release, the new program of OEL development will start immediately and will likely focus on lead as its top priority.

“It is part of ECHA’s strategy to provide integrated proposals to the [European] Commission on how to regulate risks posed by chemicals to European citizens, workers, and the environment," said Bjorn Hansen, ECHA’s executive director.

During a pilot project that took place between 2017 and 2018, ECHA delivered five OEL recommendations within one year. Those recommendations are currently passing through the European Commission’s decision-making process.

More information is available on ECHA’s website.