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ESMO urges need to prevent new cancer cases by lowering the EU exposure limit to asbestos in letter to Members of the European Parliament

18 Jan 2023

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has reached out to key Members of the European Parliament to underline the need for adopting strict EU limits on occupational exposure to asbestos, which is crucial for preventing cancer cases caused by asbestos.

The European Commission launched a legislative proposal to revise the Asbestos at Work Directive in September 2022. As part of this revision, the Commission proposed to lower the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) to asbestos from the current 100,000 fibres per m3 (0.1 fibres per cm3) to 10,000 fibres per m3 (0.01 fibres per cm3). The Member States of the EU endorsed this new norm at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council held on 8-9 December 2022.

The European Parliament will draft and adopt its position in the coming months. In light of this, and given that asbestos remains a highly carcinogenic substance, ESMO reached out to the lead Rapporteur MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir and several Shadow-Rapporteurs to call for the adoption of an even lower limit of 1,000 fibres per m3 (0.001 fibres per cm3). Given that asbestos contributes greatly to work-related cancers in Europe, with 78% of occupational cancers recognized in EU countries being related to asbestos1, it is crucial that this more ambitious legal norm is eventually adopted by the EU legislators.

ESMO stands ready to support the European Parliament and the EU Member States with developing robust EU-wide measures for preventing cancer cases caused by asbestos.


  1. European Occupational Diseases Statistics (EODS)

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