European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Chemicals and REACH

The use of chemicals takes a heavy toll on European workers in all sectors - up to 30% of recognized occupational diseases and tens of thousands of preventable deaths each year are caused by exposure to hazardous substances. This is behind wide social inequalities in health, and is why the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) consistently pushed to get the REACH Regulation onto the books.

This set of rules prevents chemicals being sold unless information is supplied on the hazards and risks they pose to health and the environment, and is an opportunity to reduce chemical risks at the workplace. The information generated by REACH should also help make the EU directives that protect workers against chemical hazards (the Chemical Agents Directive and Carcinogens Directive) more effective. Aware that the reform will deliver results only if workers take ownership of it, the ETUI has produced a series of publications on chemicals and organizes meetings for the chemical hazards specialists of ETUC member organizations.

Further readings:


Visit the RISCTOX database of hazardous substances that provides information on over 100,000 chemical agents. It provides clear, organized and concise information about health and environmental risks caused by chemicals contained in products generally used or handled by companies.


Vietnam bans glyphosate

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Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash

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ETUI seminar on carcinogens at work and chemical risks

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