Dear sir/madam,

We find it unacceptable that workers within Europe are given unequal protection against a variety of hazardous or carcinogenic substances in the workplace. In some cases protection is non-existent.

Nevertheless, existing regulations at European level are noticeably weak. In the course of 34 years, only five substances have been the subject of binding limit values whereas 113 cases were subjected to indicative, non-binding limits. This is ruefully inadequate when considering the number of potentially hazardous substances that are circulating in European work places (145000 according to the REACH registry). Existing national regulations differ widely between Member States: in some cases, Member States have no limits in place at all; other States maintain limit values that are ten times more stringent than those of their neighbors. The latter are often at a disadvantage in terms of cost structure.

We ask you to support the European Trade Union Confederation in its request to provide the same rigorous protection for workers against hazardous substances throughout Europe. Priority should be given to tightening European standards for fifty of the most carcinogenic substances used in the workplace, and to quickly harmonizing all other existing national standards at the highest European level. To work in a healthy and safe environment is a fundamental human right.

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