European Parliament calls for better protection of workers against asbestos

On Tuesday, October 19th, the European Parliament (EP) adopted an initiative report containing several proposals to reinforce the protection of workers against asbestos. The adoption of this text shows once again the commitment of Members of the EP in the fight against cancer, while asbestos remains the main cause of occupational cancers and kills no less than 80,000 people every year in Europe.

This report aims to influence the forthcoming review of the Asbestos Directive by the European Commission in 2022. Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, shadow rapporteur for the Renew Europe Group on this text and Parliament's rapporteur on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, played a major role in drafting the many compromises adopted. This report illustrates the importance of taking health into account in all policies, for which the MEP advocates.

  • Green transition: taking the opportunity of the Green Deal Renovation wave aiming at renovating 35 million buildings in order to speed up the removal of remaining asbestos.
  • Occupational Health: strengthening safety and health by providing more protection on construction sites and appropriate training to exposed workers.
  • Victim support: encouraging Member States to facilitate the recognition of asbestos-related occupational cancers.
  • Innovation: improving asbestos removal and waste management techniques.
  • Solidarity: ensuring financial support for low-income homeowners in the transition to an asbestos-free Europe, to ensure social justice.
  • Health worldwide: promoting a global ban of asbestos.  

“A European strategy is needed to avoid inequalities in protection: all workers must be adequately protected, regardless of their country of origin. Removing asbestos now means avoiding passing this burden on to future generations. Ensuring adequate prevention is a major investment for public health, in terms of lives spared, pain avoided and also savings for healthcare systems.” concludes the MEP.