One of the biggest health problems which faces workplaces across Europe and indeed the world, is work-related cancer. This accounts for an estimated 53 % of all work-related deaths in the EU and other developed countries. According to the Roadmap on Carcinogens, about 120,000 work-related cancer cases occur each year as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work in the EU, leading to approximately 80,000 fatalities annually.
However, radiation, stress and other factors related to work organisation and conditions have also all been linked to work-related cancer. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that occupational exposure to endocrine disruptors (e.g. some pesticides) or nanomaterials may be able to cause cancer.
These alarming statistics have prompted action. In a new initiative on safety and health at work, the European Commission has committed to protecting workers from work-related cancer. This will be achieved in part by revising the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to set exposure limits for common cancer-causing chemicals in European workplaces.