Introduction Carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances are often referred to as one group, due to the fact that a substance may present all three types of hazards, but also due to similarities in classification and in legal approach. CMRs are chronically toxic and have serious impacts on health. For workers with a pregnancy wish, pregnant workers and for the breast feeding workers employers should focus on zero exposure, by for example exemption from work. But if this is not possible a risk assessment is needed.
Method Directive 92/85/EEC on safety and health at work of pregnant and breastfeeding workers states that for all activities liable to involve a specific risk of exposure to the agents, processes or working conditions, the employer shall assess the nature, degree and duration of exposure, in order to assess risks to safety/health and possible effect on the pregnancy or breastfeeding workers. This risk assessment should be based on a coherent methodology supported by information collected systematically and measured data. In this presentation, a stepwise approach is presented on how the classification and the risk assessment, can be carried out, and how the assessment can be translated into the decision making process in terms of type and priority of control measures.
Results The results will show that mechanism of action of the substances, and studies on which a OEL might have been set (critical studies) are very important, when setting a reliable strategy for risk control. The different ways for exposure assessment will also be presented.
Discussion The approach will not only present the possibilities but also the difficulties for employers on dealing with these CMR substances and their workers. Several examples will be shown to illustrate the process and the discussions that might occur.
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