Introduction on carcinogens

Carcinogens are dangerous in many ways

Exposure threatens workers‘ overall health and quality of life, as well as participation in work and productivity levels. Not only does cancer result in individual suffering, the societal impact is large as well. The direct costs of carcinogen exposure at work across Europe are estimated at 2.4 billion Euros per year. Taking health care expenditure and productivity losses into account, this number is estimated as 4 to 7 billion Euros annually (RIVM, 2016).

STOP strategy keeps you safe!

When carcinogens are involved at the workplace, employers have to do everything in their power to prevent workers coming into contact with these substances. As you might imagine, the best way to achieve this is complete elimination or substitution of the carcinogen with a less dangerous alternative: taking away the source. When substitution is (not yet) technically possible, other measures must be taken. These measures follow a hierarchy of control, detailed in the STOP strategy. These factsheets contain a general introduction on how to eliminate and substitute all carcinogens at the workplace using the STOP strategy. Each letter stands for a next level of measures. It’s easy to remember – STOP keeps you safe!

For Europe, the total number of persons who get cancer from occupational exposure to carcinogens is estimated to cross the 120.000 cases per year limit, causing almost 80.000 deaths per year.

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