Tory MEPs fail to back new EU laws protecting millions of workers from exposure to carcinogens

Tory MEPs today failed to vote for new EU laws that will protect millions of workers across Europe from exposure to substances proven to cause cancer.

The law will restrict the exposure of workers to carcinogenic and mutagenic substances by setting new and stricter limits for substances which can cause cancer and reproductive issues in both men and women – substances such as crystalline silica, chromium, hardwood dust and many reprotoxic chemicals.

Pending approval by Council, national governments will have two years to implement the new laws.

Siôn Simon MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on employment and social affairs, said:

“By failing to back these new laws, the Tories have once again shown that they are not on the side of working people. In the EU, half of the deaths caused by a disease linked to a profession are attributed to cancer – these new measures will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives, and save thousands more from living in pain.

“People employed in the healthcare sector, construction, wood-related industries, the paper industry and the chemical industry will benefit from these greater protections. Do the Tories not care about the lives of workers involved with the production of everything from children’s clothing to metal products, and cosmetics to airplanes?

“The attitude of the Tories in the European Parliament does not bode well for British workers after Brexit if the Tory government stays in power and maintains its current direction. Over the next eighteen months, will they take the necessary steps to implement these new laws that will save British workers’ lives, or will they not?”