An asbestos-free future for construction workers in the EU is in sight

Author: Linda Aziz-Rohlje



Important steps towards an asbestos-free future are being taken under the leadership of Renew Europe and MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on Wednesday morning.

Measures in the adopted report, reflecting the Parliament’s position ahead of the negotiations with the Council expected to start in May, will drastically reduce worker’s exposure to asbestos and safeguard health equity across Member States. Particularly construction workers on the frontline of the Green Deal Renovation Wave will get an increased level of protection by lowering the occupational exposure limit and switching to electron microscopy. Furthermore, training for workers exposed to asbestos will be introduced as well as supporting measures for SMEs.

Presently, between 4 and 7 million workers in the union are exposed to asbestos, which is by far the first cause of work-related cancers (78 percent of occupational cancers recognised in the Member States are related to exposure to asbestos).

MEP Véronique TRILLET-LENOIR (Renaissance, France), who has led the drafting of the report, says:

“More than 15 years after its prohibition, workers are still exposed to asbestos, the leading cause of work-related cancers, especially in the construction sector. This revision constitutes the indispensable health and social pillar of the Green Deal’s Renovation wave. The text adopted today meets a triple requirement: a health requirement for prevention, an equity requirement to reduce health disparities, and a methodological requirement to base legislation on scientific data. I am proud of the work done with the negotiating team and of the strong mandate entrusted to me for negotiations with the ministers. This text confirms the European Parliament's ambition in the fight against cancer."


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