SafetyNet 300, November 6, 2014
This is a bit of a milestone – the 300th edition of SafetyNet! The VTHC OHS Unit thanks all our loyal subscribers and encourages everyone to use the material for their own purposes, and encourage others to subscribe as well.… and again, please consider 'following' us at: @OHSreps
killed in Northern Victoria
A 28 year old man was killed after being crushed by a grain silo on a farm in the state's north-west last week. Emergency services were called to a property in Boinka, west of Ouyen, on the Mallee Highway about 4.30pm on October 30. Early reports suggested the man was loading grain into the silo in the early afternoon when it toppled over. It is believed the incident happened early in the afternoon but he was not discovered for some time. He died at the scene. Police attended the scene to prepare a report for the coroner, and the VWA was also investigating. Again, there has been no news from the regulator, but apparently the death brings the number of workplace fatalities in Victoria this year to 16 – although by our reckoning the number is higher.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
My employer has said that the first aid kit would no longer stock plastic strips ('band aids') due to health and safety reasons i.e. allergies. Surely this can't be right?
is no health and safety regulation which bans the provision of plastic strips,
in fact the Compliance Code for First Aid recommends that a first aid kit/box
should stock "individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings" (which is what
these are!). If the concern is about the small risk of allergic reaction to
some types of dressings then this can be easily managed by stocking the
hypoallergenic variety or simply asking the person being treated if they are
allergic to these before they are applied.
This is another example of 'health and safety' being used as a crazy excuse for not doing something.
More information: FAQ on First Aid Kits
Please send any OHS related queries in to 'Ask Renata' - your query will be responded to as quickly as we can – usually within a couple of days.
Another asbestos scandal unfolding
Because we were sold asbestos as a 'miracle fibre' it now looks like not a day goes by without another asbestos scandal hitting the press. On the ABC's 7.30 broadcast earlier this week, unionists and lawyers warned about the presence of deteriorating and friable asbestos-containing products in hospitals throughout the country. Commenting on the situation, Tanya Segelov, a prominent asbestos litigant lawyer, said: "Wherever there was heat, wherever there was steam, there was asbestos." Contamination has been identified in two major Sydney hospitals: Westmead and Royal North Shore. There have been several cases of asbestos being discovered in Melbourne hospitals in the past as well.
Read more: Hospitals in Australia riddled with asbestos and pose serious health risk, union officials say ABC 7.30
ACT Government bans builders from
The ACT Government has announced that builders will no longer be allowed to remove up to 10-square-metres of bonded (non-friable) asbestos from homes. From January 1, any asbestos removal, including bonded asbestos sheeting, must be done by licensed asbestos removalists, who will now come under the control of Work Safe ACT. Builders were never allowed under the law to remove even 10-square-metres without asbestos training, but Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said the training requirement was the most widely flouted. "The 10-square-metre rule is actually significantly misunderstood. Tradesmen think it means they can remove up to 10-square-metres of asbestos without controls, that's not true," he said. Some builders treated the 10-square-metre rule as a daily limit, rather than a limit for the entire job, which is what the current regs say.
laws will not stop electricians or other trades dealing with bonded asbestos
sheeting for "minor maintenance work", including installing down
lights, light switches or power points, but they will have to use a hand tool, not a
power drill to drill through bonded asbestos sheeting.
Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald ACT Government bans builders from removing asbestos
Mesothelioma Incidence in Vietnam
The absence of data on asbestos cancers is often used as proof that asbestos can be used safely under controlled conditions. Vietnam is a major consuming country which, despite the development of alternative technologies, has not banned asbestos. Research reported at an asbestos cancer conference in October 2014, has documented 148 cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma in Vietnam. The authors believe this figure is "likely to underestimate the true number of incident cases…" The research was carried out under the auspices of the Australian Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) and led by a researcher from the University of Sydney.
Source: IBAS News Archive. Read more: Soeburg, M et al: Estimating the incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Vietnam: a pilot descriptive population-based cancer registry study.[pdf]
Study: Cosmetic talc products carry
As already reported in SafetyNet, talc, the fine, powdery mineral used in thousands of consumer products by everyone from newborns to the elderly, can be a killer if contaminated with asbestos. Some public health experts say this occurs far more often than miners and manufacturers acknowledge. In a new study, scientists from three different laboratories worked for more than a year to track asbestos-contaminated talc from the mines to a popular body-powder product, then into the lung tissue of a woman who died of asbestos-caused mesothelioma after years of using the product. The number of people contracting asbestos-related diseases is escalating, and many scientists attribute at least part of that increase to asbestos' presence in thousands of consumer products.
Read more: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Washington
November 16 – 18, 2014
ASEA's 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management: "Working towards an asbestos free Australia" (Crown Casino November 16-18) is just around the corner, but it's not too late to register. Renata, the editor of the OHS Reps@Work website and SafetyNet will be there as a panellist for Asbestos and "DIY" session. Asbestoswise will also be present at the ASEA stand – happy to give information and advice.
Read more: ASEA Conference including program information, and registration details.
Asbestos Awareness Week: November 24 - 28
Please remember the annual Asbestos Awareness Week at the end of this month. There are a few events scheduled during the week, but if you can't attend one of these, then do something your workplace: a minute's silence for the thousands of Australian workers and members of the community who have become victims of this toxic substance; doing a 'spot check' of any possible asbestos in your workplace; checking that your employer has an up to date register as required by the regulations; or a short information and training session.
Read more: Asbestos Awareness Week 2014
Want to know about Asbestos laws and more – go to the Asbestos section on the site.
union scathing of penalty for worker death
The fiancé of construction worker Tom Takurua has condemned the fine handed down by the court to Thiess for her husband's death six years ago as 'insulting'. Krystle Ross said the verdict handed down this week in the Brisbane Magistrates Court – a fine of $120,000 after the company pleaded guilty to causing her husband's death, was indicative of a failure in the legal system. No conviction was recorded against the company. "Thiess have been to court 13 times to try and save their corporate name, appealing time and again in order to have the charges rewritten to lessen the severity of them," she said.
Mr Takurua was crushed to death when an 18 tonne
beam toppled over and fell on him, trapping him underneath. The accident was
caused by Thiess' disregarding its own work practices. Queensland CFMEU
Construction Secretary Michael Ravbar said that workers and the union were
upset and angry about the finding against the company. "When you consider that
the union gets fined more than that for trespass, it's not hard to conclude
that there is one set of laws for workers and another more lenient set of laws
for big business," he said. "This finding shows the public that if you're a
multinational company with deep pockets, you can work your way through the
system and literally get away with murder."
Read more: CFMEU C & G News
International Union News
European Union: Unions and psychosocial risks project
The findings of a project on psychosocial risks done in 12 firms in four Mediterranean countries (France, Italy, Spain and Turkey) were unveiled in Brussels in mid-October. The scheme was coordinated by the Spanish trade union institute Istas partnered by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Called E-Impro, it sought to identify specific barriers and drivers in participative psychosocial risk (PSR) prevention processes at company level to achieve a healthier work organization.
The project fell into two parts: a review of the scientific literature from 2003 to 2013 - 124 English and Spanish documents in all - on participation by workers' reps in PSR prevention and an interview-based survey of 62 people from twelve private and public, industry and service undertakings.
Key barriers to worker participation in PSR prevention identified by the researchers were:
- no legislation (a particular problem in Turkey);
- lack of knowledge among employers' and workers' representatives of the underlying mechanisms of PSR and the mistaken belief that the problem lies with the individual;
- lack of management commitment, especially in companies with an authoritarian tradition of labour relations;
- lack of resources, guidance and technical support;
- lack of workers' support for their health and safety representatives;
- the undertaking's financial ills and their impact on jobs.
kick off global transport 'safe rates' campaign
A worldwide campaign for safe pay rates for transport workers was launched in late August by the sector's global union federation ITF. The 'Safe rates and a safe industry- we're in, are you?' campaign is modelled on a highly successful initiative by Australian truck drivers. In 2012, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) won an Australia-wide safe rates law, intended to protect drivers from pressure to work long hours, speed or take drugs just to keep going. TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon, the newly elected road transport chair of the ITF, said: "Transport work in Australia is dangerous work. Transport workers are 15 times more likely to die at work than workers in any other industry."
Source: ETUI news release Read more: Road haulage in Australia: keeping vulnerable workers safe and sound, [pdf] HesaMag 06, 2012
Government likely to sue Tuba Group owner
It was reported this week that the Bangladeshi government was about to file a case against the owner of Tuba Group, Delwar Hossain, for non-payment of wages and service benefits to the workers of his five garment units and non-compliance with the labour law. "We have no option but to file a case against the Tuba Group owner as we repeatedly asked him to pay the workers' wages and service benefits and to declare the factories shut following the Labour Act but he did not respond," Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, told New Age on Sunday.
On August 18, the Tuba Group management posted a
notice on the gates of the factories stating that the factories were closed
with effect from June 11, under Section 13(1) of the Labour Act. On August 26,
the Labour Ministry termed the closure 'illegal' and asked the owner to close
the factories complying with the relevant guidelines of the Labour Act. The Ministry also asked the owner to pay
compensation before closing down the factories – he declined until he received the
insurance money claimed for the Tazreen Fashions fire damage. The fire, in
November 2012, killed at least 117 workers – the owner had been in jail since
February this year as the police had pressed charges against him for homicide
resulting from culpable negligence. However, on August 5 he was released on bail to facilitate
payment of wages to the 1,500 workers of the five factories.
Read more: New Age
UK: Cuts are making civil servants sick
Cuts to jobs and increasing workloads are leading to more stress and ill-health in the UK's civil (public) service, according to new surveys for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). Two surveys carried out for the union by employment analysts and academics have revealed high levels of stress, longer working hours, and fewer opportunities to achieve a work-life balance. This comes after the latest official stats showed 87,000 civil servants had lost their jobs since 2010 as ministers boast of shrinking the civil service to the smallest since the Second World War. PCS says the surveys show conditions for civil servants have worsened since the union's first stress survey was carried out in 2006, with stress now "considerably higher."
'Change' was identified as
the most significant contributory factor. More than half (52 per cent) of those
surveyed reported working beyond contracted hours and almost three quarters said
their workload had increased. The main reasons: reduced staffing levels (74 per
cent), new work practices (58 per cent) and increased personal targets (42 per
cent). More than one fifth (23 per cent) experienced work-related stress up to
50 per cent of the time, with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) saying they had
suffered from ill-health as a result of stress at work. PCS general secretary
Mark Serwotka said: "While ministers cheer the fact they're cutting the civil
service to the bone, their unnecessary cuts are clearly having a detrimental
effect on people's health and their ability to do their work. The government
has no claim to be a model employer when it is causing such high levels of
stress, ill-health and overwork."
Read more: PCS News Release
Particulates from coal
mining community trigger signs of cancer in lung cells
To expose and extract coal seams buried deep under mountains, miners blast through rock with explosives. In Appalachia (USA) where this mining is widespread, people who live or work near mines have a greater incidence of lung cancer than the general population. Scientists have in the past hypothesized that exposure to dust from mountaintop removal mining can cause cancer, but until now, the link was not experimentally demonstrated. But now, a team of cancer researchers from West Virginia University has shown that human lung cells exposed to airborne dust from homes within a mile of a mountaintop removal mining site adopt cancer-like properties and, when implanted in mice, can promote tumours in mice.
The researchers collected air samples on mesh filters over several weeks from two West Virginia homes within a mile of an active mountaintop removal mining site. They also collected samples from homes in a rural part of the state where there is no mining activity. They extracted the particulates from the filters and then analysed their composition using scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. They then exposed cultured human lung cells to a nonlethal dose of the particulates from either a mining site or a non-mining one for three months. By comparing the exposed surface area of the lung cells to that of human lungs, they estimated that the dose as equivalent to eight to nine years of human exposure to average air concentrations of particulates in these areas.
Cells exposed to particulates from near the mine adopted
cancer-like properties: They formed colonies when grown on soft agar, a common
test of transformation into cancer cells. These cells also grew faster and
migrated farther. In contrast, cells treated with particulates from non-mining
areas did not show these characteristics.
Read more: Luanpitpong, S, Rojanasakul, Y, et al: Appalachian Mountaintop Mining Particulate Matter Induces Neoplastic Transformation of Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells and Promotes Tumor Formation [Full text] Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/es504263u Source: Chemical & Engineering News
Increased risk of lung
cancer among bricklayers
According to the findings of an epidemiological study recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, bricklayers are at increased risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of contracting lung cancer increases in proportion to the length of time spent working in the occupation. The authors see the probable cause as being building workers' regular exposure to a 'cocktail of carcinogens' that provokes synergistic effects. Of particular concern is crystalline silica dust, found in most raw building materials. Almost 20 per cent of the workforce in the construction industry is regularly exposed to crystalline silica dust.
The study was based on data gathered in 13 European
countries, Canada, Hong Kong
and New Zealand.
Currently, crystalline silica is not covered by the EU directive on
carcinogens. The revision of this directive to extend its scope to a larger
number of carcinogens has been progressing at a snail's pace since 2004. In Australia,
crystalline silica is classified as a hazardous substance, has an exposure
standard of 0.1 mg/m³, and in banned in abrasive blasting. However, it is not
categorised as a carcinogen.
Consonni, D, et al: Lung cancer risk among bricklayers in a pooled analysis of case-control studies, [pdf] International Journal of Cancer, June 2014. More information on Crystalline Silica
Shift work link to
brain power, memory decline
A new study, published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, finds that those who work shifts for 10 years or more may suffer loss of memory and brain power. The researchers say the effects on brain function can be reversed, but this may take at least five years. This study is the latest to highlight the dangers of shift work, which disrupts the body's internal clock and has been linked to health problems like ulcers, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
The team tested more than 3000 current or retired workers in
a various sectors in southern France
in 1996, 2001 and 2006 for long- and short-term memory, processing speed and
overall cognitive abilities. Comparing
the change in test results over time, and between those who worked shift work
and those who did not, the researchers found an association between shift work
and "chronic cognitive impairment".
The association was stronger for
exposure durations exceeding 10 years (dose effect; cognitive loss
equivalent to 6.5 years of age-related decline).
Jean-Claude Marquié, et al: Chronic effects of shift work on cognition: findings from the VISAT longitudinal study. [Abstract] Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101993 Read more: The Australian Financial Review
New report: how European
workplaces are managing stress
A quarter of workers in Europe report feeling stressed at work all or most of the time, while a similar proportion say that work affects their health negatively, according to a report released on 16 October by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions (Eurofound). The report examined the extent to which workplaces take action to tackle psychosocial risks. Almost 80 per cent of managers were concerned about work-related stress, and nearly one in five considered violence and harassment to be of major concern. Despite these concerns, less than a third of workplaces have procedures in place to deal with such risks.
The report found that interventions taken at company level
to tackle psychosocial risks are most successful if accompanied by active
worker involvement. The report also singled out the impact of the crisis on PSR
(psychosocial risk) in the workplace. "Recently, increases in work pressure and
violence and harassment have been reported in some countries; this is
associated with workplace changes brought on by the economic crisis",
state the authors of the report.
Read more: EU-OSHA/Eurofound: Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention - Executive summary (16 October 2014) [pdf]
Safe Work Australia
As of November 5, 144 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work Australia – four more since the last report. The fatalities: 39 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 31 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 22 in Construction; 14 in Mining; 11 in Manufacturing; eight in Arts & recreation services; five in Accommodation & food services; four in Wholesale Trade; three in Electricity, Gas & Water Services; two each in Health care/social assistance and Public administration and services; and one each in Administrative and support services; Government administration & defence; and 'other services'.
Read more: Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities
The latest monthly fatality report released by SafeWork Australia remains that for July. Monthly reports can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
SWA report: Workplace
health and safety, business productivity and sustainability
Leadership and culture is one of the key "Action Areas" of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022, with strong evidence that performance is improved when organisations address work health and safety risks along with other important business risks. In 2014, Safe Work Australia commissioned the Centre for Workplace Leadership at Melbourne University to provide a summary of this evidence. The report, released last week, suggests the evidence supports the general business case for investment in work health and safety – that those investments provide a positive return through reduced costs associated with poor work health and safety outcomes, improved productivity, and possibly other outcomes that add value to the business. However, businesses need to take a broad strategic and long-term view when considering the business case.
report also found that workers put under unreasonable production pressures and
dismissal threats are more likely to disregard safety rules and take risks - even
when well aware of the risks, workplace pressures might still "induce
behaviours that expose them to such risks".
Download the report from the SWA website.
Although the Fair Work Commission (FWC) received far fewer applications than expected under its new anti-bullying jurisdiction, it received more than 100,000 unique website hits on bullying, and 350 telephone enquiries, and the application rate is gradually increasing, according to its annual report. Since 1 January this year, workers in constitutionally-covered businesses believing they have been bullied at work, and are at risk of ongoing bullying, have been able to apply to the FWC for an order to stop the bullying.
The FWC's 2013-14 annual report, released last week, revealed it had received an average of about 60 applications per month by the end of June; many fewer than the predicted average of nearly 70 applications per week.
general manager Bernadette O'Neill says in the report that as the new
anti-bullying jurisdiction is unique in both Australia and internationally, it
was "impossible" to accurately predict application numbers, but she
commented on the high number of enquiries relating to the jurisdiction since January – resulting in
approximately 350 applications.
According to the report. of the 197 anti-bullying matters finalised by
the end of 2013-14, 59 applications were withdrawn early in the process, 34
were withdrawn prior to proceedings, 63 were resolved during the course of
proceedings, 20 were withdrawn after a conference or hearing, and just 21
progressed to a decision.
Source: OHSAlert Fair Work Commission Annual Report 2013 – 2014: Delivering Public Value [pdf]
- From Health Care Without Harm Europe: a leaflet for health professionals on endocrine disrupting chemicals in the healthcare sector is now available in English, French, German, Italian, Hungarian and Spanish online
1 – Again: Failure to notify VWA – no fine
On 9 October 2013, an employee of VCON Pty Ltd had the top half of his thumb tips amputated. The company did not notify VWA of this incident as it was required to do, under section 37(d)(i) of the OHS Act; and the VWA did not receive notification of this incident immediately. The company has also failed to preserve the incident site (contravening section 39). On 29 October 2014, VCON pleaded guilty to three charges under the Act, but was without conviction placed on an adjourned undertaking for a period of 12 months with a special condition to pay $5,000 to the Lions Club. It was also ordered to pay costs in the sum of $2,765. (Melbourne Magistrates Court)
2 - Enforceable undertaking for forklift incident - but no details
On November 3, the VWA published that on 12 September 2014, BPW Transpec Pty Ltd entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Victorian WorkCover Authority in relation to a forklift incident which occurred at BPW's Laverton North workplace on 14 October 2013. However, there is no record of the EU on the VWA website, so SafetyNet is unable to provide any information.
Source: The VWA Prosecution result summaries
WA: Landscaper fined over man's death
A Perth landscaper and his company, Total Landscape Redevelopment Service Pty Ltd (TLRS) have been fined a total $95,000 after a pedestrian was killed on a worksite. TLRS pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of a person who was not an employee and was fined $75,000 (plus costs of $6000) by a Perth magistrate. TLRS's sole director, Christopher Lachlan Cantelo, also pleaded guilty to a related charge and was fined $20,000. TLRS was working on public land at Inaloo for the City of Stirling in November 25, 2011. Cantelo had sent his staff to lunch but continued operating a bobcat in their absence. He struck and killed a man who had been working at a property next to the site. At a separate hearing in August, City of Stirling was fined $20,000 for failing to require TLRS to assess the risks before starting the job. Work Safe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said, "These charges illustrate that safety is the responsibility of not only the organisation that engages the contractor, but also the contractor performing the work and its company directors."
Turkey: Executives face life in prison
following mine deaths
Turkish prosecutors are seeking life jail terms for eight mining executives, following the deaths of 301 workers in May, in the country's worst-ever industrial accident. They have also charged twenty-nine other employees of the Soma Mining company with involuntary manslaughter. They could be sentenced to between two and 15 years in prison if found guilty. Those facing life imprisonment include the chief executive of Soma Mining, Can Gurkan, the son of the company's owner. The workers were killed when an explosion at the Soma mine, in the country's west, was followed by a major collapse. Investigative reports found serious safety violations at the mine, including a shortage of carbon monoxide detectors, ceilings made of wood instead of metal, and a lack of high-quality gas masks. Soma Mining denied any responsibility.
disaster reignited concerns over lax safety in Turkey,
which the ILO says has the highest rate of workplace fatalities in Europe. Last week, another mining disaster occurred: a
flood at a mine in the southern Karaman region was thought to have killed 18
miners. Their bodies have not yet been recovered. Turkish police have apparently detained 17
demonstrators from a labour union for protesting against workplace fatalities
outside the Labour Ministry in Ankara.
Read more: Eight mining executives face life in jail after the deaths of 301 workers in Turkey's worst-ever industrial disaster ABC News Online
India: Bhopal after 30 years
This December will mark 30 years since the Bhopal gas tragedy occurred. The leakage of the deadly methyl isocyanate gas from the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) factory in Bhopal was one of the worst industrial disasters in the world – killing 3,000 people then and tens of thousands since. But after all these years, has anything changed in India with regard to adoption of environmental safeguards before promoting industries and related projects? And what is the fate of the victims of polluting industries?
According to a January 2013 report by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, the soil and groundwater within 3.5 kilometres from the UCC factory site is still contaminated with cancer- and birth defect-causing chemicals. "The contamination of soil and groundwater actually predates the disaster," says activist Satinath Sarangi, who has fought for the cause of gas leak survivors. "From 1969 to 1977, Union Carbide used to dump its toxic wastes at 21 spots, most of them unlined pits, inside the 68-acre factory premises. Despite 17 agencies, including government and non-governmental organisations, carrying out studies over the past two decades, a comprehensive plan for remediation of the soil and groundwater has not been prepared," he says.
survivors learnt of the peaceful death on September 29, of Warren Anderson,
they gathered to spit on a photograph of the former UCC CEO, the first accused
in the case and a fugitive from justice. Organizations working for welfare of
survivors say he died unpunished due to protection by the US government
and deliberate negligence of Indian government in bringing him to justice.
Read more: 30 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy Hindu, India Warren Anderson died unpunished, survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy say India Times
ILO video 'Dancing together against child labour'
An up-and-coming hip-hop dance group, The Zoo Thailand, has put their talent to good use and joined the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its campaign to end child labour. Napatsara Ploysupaphol, a 13-year-old hip-hop dancer, has seen child labour on the streets of the Thai capital, Bangkok, since she was young. When she started dancing at the age of seven Napatsara would finish her practice in the evening and often see children, smaller than herself, selling flowers or cleaning car mirrors at traffic lights, working until the small hours of the morning to earn a little money. She heard about a new ILO campaign, "All Together Against Child Labour", (a part of the global "Red Card to Child Labour" movement) which specifically tries to engage with the young city-dwellers who also form the core of The Zoo Thailand's fan base. Napatsara persuaded her fellow dancers to put their talents to good use and get involved.
Read more and check out the video: ILO Feature
Europe: Endocrine Disruptors to be phased out
Endocrine disruptors have harmful effects on the body's endocrine (hormone) system. Hormones act in very small amounts and at precise moments in time to regulate the body's development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, immunity and behaviour. Endocrine disruptors interfere with natural hormone systems, and the health effects can be felt long after the exposure has stopped. Exposure to endocrine disruptors in the womb can have life-long effects and can even have consequences for the next generation.
Due to growing concern in the EU and worldwide about negative human
health and environmental impacts possibly caused by endocrine disruptors, the
EU has introduced specific legislative obligations aimed at phasing out
endocrine disruptors in water, industrial chemicals, plant protection products
and biocides. In REACH, endocrine disrupting chemicals are considered of
similar regulatory concern as substances of very high concern. The European
Commission is currently working on a proposal for science-based criteria for
endocrine disruptors, as required in the Plant
Protection Products Regulation and the Biocidal
Products Regulation. The public consultation on defining criteria for identifying
endocrine disruptors in the context of the implementation of the plant
protection products regulation and the biocidal products regulation is
Read more: Europa 30 September 2014
Belgium gets nanomaterials registry
Belgian legislation on placing on the market substances manufactured in nanoparticle form was gazetted in Belgium's Moniteur Belge legal newspaper on 24 September. The new law establishes a registry of nanomaterials which the Belgian authorities are hoping will improve the traceability of nanomaterial-containing products and scientific knowledge about their potential toxicity.
The registry is set to be operational by 1 January 2016 which is when substances have to be registered; mixtures will only have to be registered from 1 January 2017. After evaluation, the products will be registered later.
Last May, the European Commission set going a public consultation on
possible measures, including establishing a European inventory, to increase
transparency of the European market in nanomaterials. Belgium is the second EU country after France where
nanomaterials must be registered before they can be marketed. Discussions on an
inventory are also under way in Denmark.
The Commission also has yet to publish the revised definition of "nanomaterial"
to move forward the efforts it is making to establish an EU-wide nano registry.
Source: ETUI news Read more on Nanotechnology