European Chemicals Agency to Assess OELs for Asbestos, Cadmium
The European Chemicals Agency seeks evidence related to the scientific evaluation of occupational exposure limits for asbestos and its properties and for cadmium and its inorganic compounds. ECHA intends to use the information it gathers on exposure, health effects, toxicology, and epidemiology of these substances to help the agency draft its reports related to exposure limits in the workplace. ECHA’s calls for evidence provide opportunities for stakeholders to express their views and concerns while the agency is in the early phases of developing its reports. The deadline for comments is June 2, 2020. ECHA will review the European Union’s current OEL for asbestos, which requires employers to ensure that workers are not exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos above 0.1 fibers/cm3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average. The agency stresses that “any exposure to asbestos should be limited to the minimum.” For cadmium and its inorganic compounds, the agency will assess options such as setting an airborne OEL or a combination of an airborne OEL and a biological monitoring value. ECHA will base its recommendations on these options’ potential effectiveness in protecting worker health. Last year, ECHA announced that it will provide regular recommendations for OELs that protect workers exposed to hazardous substances. Under an agreement with the European Commission, ECHA is required to assess four to five OELs per year. More information about ECHA’s calls for comments and evidence concerning OELs is available on the agency’s website.

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OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE LIMITS  
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