Last reviewed 14 October 2020

A coalition of professional organisations, trades unions and patient groups have collaborated to launch a new Stop Cancer at Work campaign in Europe, focusing on reforms to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive.

Specifically, the coalition is calling for the current fourth revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to include groups of carcinogenic and mutagenic hazardous drugs which are currently excluded.

Groups backing the campaign include the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), European Public Services Union (EPSU) and European Biosafety Network (EBN) ― with other partners including the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN), Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), European Specialist Nurses Organisation (ESNO), and European Association of Pharmacy Technicians (EAPT).

In a joint statement, the groups said that cancer remained the leading cause of work-related deaths in the EU, with more than 120,000 cancer work-related cases recorded each year.

The Stop Cancer at Work campaign is highlighting a number of occupations ― from nurses to cleaners to fire fighters — in which workers across the EU are being put at risk by being exposed to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances in their place of work.

The campaign group says these occupational exposures are causing work-related deaths from cancer as well as other health problems, such as miscarriages.

The campaign is calling for the European Commission, Parliament and Council to include in the Directive carcinogenic cytotoxic drugs (which can cause cancer, such as leukaemia, in healthcare workers and patients) and reprotoxins (which can harm workers’ fertility and reproductive health).

The campaign will run for most of 2020 and 2021 with a petition urging the EU institutions to accept the proposed legislative changes.

The campaign can be accessed on the Stop Cancer at Work website.