Objectives To determine the health and economic impacts of introducing some process generated substances in the Carcinogen Directive.
Methods Health and economic impacts were estimated for introducing new OELs (diesel engine exhaust-DEE, silica, and rubber dust and fumes) or for applying best practice (mineral oils). Avoidable cancer cases and deaths were estimated for the year 2060, and monetized health benefit and cost for controlling exposure were compared.
Results The estimated health impact and associated cost for introducing a OEL for DEE100 mg EC/m3 was insignificant as, apart from in underground mines, only a small percentage of the EU workforce is currently exposed to higher levels. For silica, the impact of introducing new OELs of 0.05, 0.1 and 0.2 mg/m3 was estimated. The number of lung cancer deaths avoided was approximately 5300, 4900 and 4000, respectively. Associated net monetized health benefit was €28–74bn, €26–68bn and €21–56bn, respectively. Estimated cost for introducing necessary control measures were €34bn, €19bn and €10bn, respectively. Introducing an OEL of 6 mg/m3 for rubber dust has only a minimal impact, while introducing an OEL of 0.6 mg/m3 for rubber fumes avoids approximately 50 cancer deaths per year. The net health benefit for implementing the rubber fume OEL is approximately €579m to €1.2bn, compared to cost for compliance of €55–275m. In relation to mineral oils, we assumed that implementing best practice would prevent any cancers cases due to this exposure post 2040, resulting in a net monetary health benefit of €0.3–1.6bn, compared to a €50–900m required to implement best practice.
Conclusions The proposed changes for silica, rubber fumes and mineral oils will result in significant number of avoidable cancers, with monetized health benefit outweighing the cost of controlling exposure. For DEEthe proposed limit of 100 mg EC/m3 will not lead to significant health benefits.