HesaMag 18

Cancer is responsible for 1.3 million deaths in the European Union each year. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 100,000 of these deaths are attributable to exposure to carcinogens during a victim’s working life, meaning that nearly 8% of all cancer deaths in Europe are work-related. Yet such occupational factors only rarely attract media attention. Even more surprisingly, the campaigns rolled out by public institutions or private organisations dedicated to fighting cancer almost never speak of such causes.

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Editorial - Soumalia Sacko, the face of a different Europe

Soumaila Sacko was assassinated in San Calogero on Saturday evening, 2 June 2018. 29 years old, born in Mali and working on a farm in Southern Italy, he lived together with some 5,000 other day labourers from Africa in one of the ramshackle settlements dotted around the plain of Gioia Tauro, an agricultural region in Calabria. Together with two of... Find out more

Olivier Hoedeman

The world of EU lobbying in Brussels

"Brussels is the lobbying capital of Europe. And with so many of our national laws starting life at EU level, it is not difficult to see why. Big corporations, industry lobby groups, lobby consultancies and law firms spend hundreds of millions of euros every year to ensure that EU policymaking meets the needs of big business – and it very often... Find out more

Occupational cancers: avoidable diseases engendering major costs for our societies

The primary cause of work-related mortality, occupational cancers cause high costs for workers, employers and health systems in all European countries. But it is the workers and their families who have to bear nearly all of these costs. The revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD), now relaunched, should help reduce the number of... Find out more

Barbara Matejčić

Black gold in Kosovo decides on its workers’ life and death

Kosovo, Europe’s youngest country, has the world’s fifth largest reserves of lignite, the cheapest and poorest quality coal and also considered to be the dirtiest fossil fuel. But has this been an asset or a curse for Kosovo? In thermal power plants Kosovo A and Kosovo B, salaries are generous but workers often fall ill and even die of respiratory... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

A couple alone against cancer

In Dottignies, a village a few kilometres away from Mouscron on the Belgian-French border, a man has been fighting for several months to get his partner’s cancer recognised as having been caused by her work. Working for a company in the textile sector, she was exposed to a carcinogenic solvent for fifteen years. More than a year after receiving the... Find out more

Renee Carey

Preventing occupational cancer starts with data

Australian researchers have developed an IT tool for evaluating the exposure to carcinogens in a large number of industries. Used to process responses to a survey of 5,000 workers on their occupational exposure to carcinogens, it delivered concerning results: two Australians out of five are exposed to at least one carcinogen at work. Occupational... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

Hunting for carcinogens at work

In a hospital in the south of France, one oncologist has managed to mobilise his entire department and others around a project to support patients suffering from work-related cancers. By tracking their occupational exposure to carcinogens, the project helps them to get their illness recognised as an occupational illness and raises the profile of a... Find out more

Berta Chulvi

Cancer in the hospital: one nurse’s lonely battle to defend her rights

Faced with two institutions largely averse to self-criticism, the medical sector and the justice system, one Spanish nurse stood her ground: her long battle for recognition of the occupational nature of the cancer that affected her almost 20 years ago has finally been won. She has taken this opportunity to highlight the risks other nurses face from... Find out more

Elsa Fayner

When illness puts work into a different perspective

Life expectancy is rising, as is the duration of working life, while new treatments are helping people work longer despite being ill. But there are still very few support schemes for helping people to get back to work or change their field of work. “Chronic illness and activity” support groups were an experiment, focusing on peer-to-peer exchanges... Find out more

Sébastien Gobert

In East Ukraine, antiquated hospitals, with equipment ripe for a museum, serve an impoverished population

The Soviet health system was considered as being one of the best in the world. All that’s left of it in Ukraine are memories. The level of public health provision has dropped greatly over the last few years, and the hospitals are desperately under-resourced. In the east of the country, at war since 2014, healthcare staff are struggling to meet the... Find out more

The bitter taste of clementines

If you go onto the Corsican Chamber of Commerce website, you’ll learn that "the clementines produced on the island have gained the red label, attesting superior quality differentiating them from similar products and validated by sensory analyses and tastings entrusted to a panel of consumers but also to a group of specialists". While the book... Find out more

Fabienne Scandella

A plea for sustainable and desirable work

In May 2017, Emmanuel Macron was elected as the 25th President of the French Republic. As soon as he took office, he began to actively promote the idea of the "liberation of labour", a somewhat vague concept that had figured in his election campaign, and caused some controversy and concern. In his latest book, Thomas Coutrot admits from the outset... Find out more

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Work-related cancer: emerging from obscurity

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Pien Heuts

Dutch FNV union makes employers pay up for work-related diseases

Workers with an occupational disease have almost no chance of enforcing their rights. Dutch trade union confederation FNV’s Beroepsziekten Bureau helps members to prove employer liability and get compensation under the "polluter pays" principle. An accountant was recently awarded 370 000 euros compensation for burn-out. He had been working 60-to 80... Find out more

Occupational cancer: the main challenge for the new Community Strategy

About 2.5 million new cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the EU. Their distribution in the population is a function of various factors, and working conditions are a big contributor. Cancer causes around 1.2 million deaths a year despite advances in treatment. It is second only to cardiovascular diseases as a cause of death, accounting for 29%... Find out more