CMRs are chronically toxic and have very serious impacts on health. Over 30 million tonnes of CMRs are produced in Europe yearly. The number of workers exposed to CMRs and the severity of effects call for coordinated scientific, technical and regulatory actions to be taken in order to protect health and improve working conditions.This OSHwiki site gives an overview of the classification and mechanism of action for different CMRs. It will guide you through EU legislation and give an overview of prevention measures.
In 2004 a survey carried out in France evaluated 50 potential reprotoxic substances scoring them for danger and exposure. The first ten substances according to this method were: di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, cadmium, lead, hexachlorobenzene, toluene, nonylphenol, ethylene glycol ethyl ether, benomyl.
Carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances are often referred to as a group. Carcinogens are substances or mixtures which induce cancer or increase its incidence. A mutation means a permanent change in the amount or structure of the genetic material in a cell. Mutagen is used for agents increasing the occurrence of mutations. Many mutagenic substances are also carcinogenic, but not all. Reproductive toxicity is used for agents which cause adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in males and females, developmental toxicity in the offspring and effects through or via lactation. Data show that certain CMRs can be associated to target organs (organs that are most affected), like nasal cancer to exposure to chromium(VI) compounds, pleural mesothelioma to asbestos exposure, scrotal cancer from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons like benzo[a]pyrene from soot.