Exposure to Hazardous Chemical Agents and Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction Agents: An analysis kit to prevent occupational diseases

In France, more than 10% of working people are exposed to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) chemicals in the course of their professional activities. Measuring exposure enables the level of exposure to be assessed and is an essential tool for the prevention of occupational diseases and occupational health.

"Reducing the risk of occupational diseases must be a priority for companies"

The task of preventing illness in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer. In order to fulfil this obligation, occupational physicians assist companies in monitoring occupational exposure and implementing risk prevention measures at the workplace.

Companies can also rely on professionals such as health, safety and environment (HSE) managers who are familiar with the regulations, know how to identify the Hazardous Chemical Agents and/or Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction substances used in the company and finally recommend preventive or curative actions to effectively reduce the risks of occupational diseases.

How to assess the risks of occupational exposure to Hazardous Chemical Agents and Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction Agents?

The first step in assessing chemical risks is to take stock of all the chemicals used in the company, to identify the uses and the people exposed to them. This concerns both the employees who handle these chemicals and those who are exposed to them indirectly in the course of their work.

Secondly, the study of the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) makes it possible to identify for each chemical the main substances present and the risks associated with exposure by inhalation, ingestion and/or contact with the skin.

Each chemical substance is identified by a unique identifier, the CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) number.

European regulations also require an EC (European Community) number assigned by the ECHA (European Chemical Agency). This number makes it possible to obtain precise information on the toxicity of each chemical substance and above all to identify Hazardous Chemical Agents and Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction Agents.

The risks of occupational exposure are summarised in the single document.

For Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction chemicals, an annual assessment of occupational exposure is mandatory. This involves measuring the exposure of employees who are at risk of exposure. It is a three-step process, simple to set up:

  1.     The person wears a small passive sensor (e.g. on his shirt or belt) at all times when he is at work for 5 days.
  2.     The sensor is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results of the analysis provide a measure of the actual level of exposure at the workplace.
  3.     The results are compared to the Occupational Exposure Limit Values (OELV) indicating the acceptable concentration limits in the workplace. These are set by decree and accompanied by an implementation date.


How can occupational diseases be prevented?

The OELs constitute the minimum for the protection of employees exposed to toxic chemicals, but they do not exclude health risks that may occur at lower exposure doses.
The employer's objective must be to limit employee exposure as much as possible, with an obligation of result and not of means.

Occupational exposure analysis kits are available to assess the effectiveness of the preventive measures put in place and to monitor the effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Collective Protective Equipment (CPE).

"PPE is an effective means of preventing occupational exposure"

When handling chemicals, the wearing of gloves and suitable protective clothing is the basis of PPE.
In many cases it may be necessary to supplement this PPE with suitable respiratory protection to filter out volatile or aerosol chemicals. The implementation of ventilation and air treatment solutions can also help to reduce occupational exposure to Hazardous Chemical Agents and Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction Agents.

The objective of reducing occupational exposure to chemical agents also includes the substitution of Hazardous Chemical Agents and Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction chemicals with substances of lower toxicity.

The occupational exposure measurement tools proposed by EXPOZOM are reliable, easy to use and economical. They are intended to :

  •     Support occupational medicine in its prevention mission;
  •     Provide HSE professionals with occupational exposure indicators;
  •     Measure the effectiveness of curative and preventive actions taken to reduce exposure to toxic substances at the workplace;
  •     Periodically check the exposure of operators;
  •     Monitor the quality of the working environment;
  •     Prevent occupational diseases;

Analysis of occupational exposure to Aldehyde and Ketones

Measurement of air quality in the workplace by analysis in a certified laboratory. Order your Test