Reduction of workers exposure to formaldehyde

The industry voluntary commitment to reduce workers exposure to formaldehyde reaches 99.7% compliance ahead of legal deadline.

58.2% of the surveyed workers were not exposed at all to formaldehyde. Image source: succo - Pixabay (symbol image).

Formacare, the formaldehyde sector group of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), presents its new results from the voluntary agreement to reduce workplace exposure to formaldehyde across Europe.

Following the Voluntary Agreement that most of the formaldehyde producers in Europe now are part of, the reported formaldehyde exposure at workplace in Europe in 2020 is the following:

  • 58.2% of the surveyed workers were not exposed at all to formaldehyde
  • 41.5% were exposed below the upcoming EU legal limit of 0.3 parts per million (ppm)
  • 0.3% were exposed beyond the upcoming EU legal limit of 0.3 ppm

Lars Eric Johansson, Chairman of Formacare, commented: “The results have again confirmed the commitment of the formaldehyde sector to ensure the highest levels of protection for its workers. Formacare members support those with difficulties in improving their results by sharing the best available technical know-how to ensure the highest standards in workplace safety are reached. This is key to the success of a thriving industrial sector in Europe”.

The Voluntary Agreement commits the vast majority of the formaldehyde production in Europe, covering 16 countries across Europe (against 13 in 2019). 23 company members of Formacare have now signed the voluntary agreement, which is 4 more than in 2019.

Collaboration with trade unions and employers’ groups

This Agreement was signed by Formacare members in May 2019, building on a collaboration with trade unions and employers’ groups at European Union (EU) level to jointly advocate for binding OEL values of 0.3 ppm to enhance worker safety. This proposed value was adopted under the third amendment to the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD3) to be the new EU Binding Occupational Exposure Limit (BOEL), which enters into force 11 July, 2021. The Voluntary agreement was put in place to speed up the application of these measures two years ahead of the legal transposition of CMD3.

Building on the learnings to date from its Voluntary Agreement, Formacare is continuing discussions with trade union partners and industry partners to support the same levels of protection across the entire formaldehyde value chain ahead of the legal deadline for CMD3.

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