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21st June 2019

Update: Industry welcomes new worker protection standard for beryllium

 

Update: 

On 20 June 2019, the official text of the 3rd amendment of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive was published on the EU Official Journal. The newly amended directive will enter into force twenty days after the publication on the EU Official Journal and includes new occupational exposure levels (OELs) for several substances. The new worker protection standard for beryllium and its inorganic compounds features an OEL of 600 nanograms beryllium per cubic meter of air (ng/m3) – inhalable fraction 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) which will apply for a seven-year transitional period (until 11 July 2026). The official signing of the Directive, originally scheduled for April, was postponed to beginning of June due to the high number of files approved in the last plenary session of the European Parliament.

The text of the approved Directive is now available on the EU Official Journal.

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After several years of thorough study and consideration, the EU is about to adopt a new worker protection standard for beryllium. The Beryllium Science and Technology Association (BeST) welcomes the new standard which will provide legal certainty, harmonised protection of workers and a level playing field in the EU.  

The new worker protection standard for beryllium and its inorganic compounds features a binding Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) of 600 nanograms beryllium per cubic meter of air (ng/m3) – inhalable fraction 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) for a seven-year transitional period. BeST welcomes this OEL, which will apply until 2026, as it is in line with industry recommendations, represents the best scientific evidence, and is economically and technically feasible for companies.

The standard will enter into force twenty days after its publication on the EU official journal, expected in April this year. Member States will have 2 years to implement this European Directive at national level.

In order to assist companies to meet the new standard, BeST has developed a Voluntary Product Stewardship Programme entitledBe Responsible, freely available to all users at www.berylliumsafety.eu.

The Be ResponsibleProgramme utilises a Recommended Exposure Guideline (REG) of 600 ng/m3– inhalable fraction which has proven effective in protecting workers from developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

In addition, the Be ResponsibleProgramme includes a comprehensive Beryllium Worker Protection Model which is based on research to practice experiences. Moreover, the website features process specific leaflets which inform employers and workers on how to work safely while processing beryllium-containing materials by identifying the necessary risk management measures to be implemented per operation.

For any additional enquiries or information, if you represent an organisation handling beryllium containing materials, please contact your supplier. Associations and authorities are invited to contact BeST at info@beryllium.eu.

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ABOUT BeST

BeST – The Beryllium Science and Technology Association – represents the suppliers of beryllium metal, beryllium-containing alloys and beryllium oxide ceramics in the EU market and has the objective of promoting sound policies, regulations, science and actions related to the use of beryllium as well as promoting good practices in the workplace, in order to protect workers handling beryllium-containing materials.