New Exposure Limits Proposed for the European Union
The European Commission recently proposed new workplace exposure limits for several cancer-causing chemicals, including cadmium and its inorganic compounds; beryllium and inorganic beryllium compounds; and formaldehyde. The lower limits would be included in the Commission’s Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, which sets maximum concentrations for cancer-causing chemicals in workplace air.  When setting new limit values, the Commission seeks scientific advice from the European Chemicals Agency and consults the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work, which is tasked with assisting the Commission in the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of activities in the fields of safety and health at work. For these substances, the Commission sought scientific advice from the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemical Agents, which was established to evaluate the potential health effects of occupational exposure to chemicals. Select exposure limits from the European Commission’s proposal appear below along with OSHA’s current PELs for the same substances for comparison.
From “Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the Protection of Workers from the Risks Related to Exposure to Carcinogens or Mutagens at Work”: “According to estimates, the adoption of the proposal would imply that in the longer term over 1,000,000 EU workers would benefit from improved prevention and protection in relation to occupational exposure to carcinogens and mutagens substances that can be at the origin of different types of cancers … and it would prevent 22,000 cases of ill-health.”
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In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

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