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News Archive

December 2013

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First anniversary of implementation of standardised tobacco packaging in Australia

Sunday, 1st December 2013 marked the first anniversary of the implementation of standardised tobacco packaging in Australia. The impact on both adults and young people in Australia has been positive (see Section 2 below). The measure was supported by a substantial (12.5%) rise in tobacco tax and will be bolstered by annual increases for the next four years. Contrary to tobacco industry claims (see Section 6 below), there is no good evidence that standardised packs have led to a rise in illicit trade.

The UK Government has not yet decided whether to proceed with standardised packaging but the Scottish Government is developing plans to press ahead with standardised packaging independently of Westminster in 2014, as is the Republic of Ireland. Standardised packaging has cross-party and public support in the UK.

More information:

First four conclusion documents on substance evaluation published on ECHA website

The substance evaluation on ethylene oxide, tributyl phosphate, m-tolylidene diisocyanate and toluene has been concluded and the related conclusion documents are published. If needed, the authorities may consider actions for further risk management.

Substance evaluation started in 2012 and Member States evaluated 36 substances. The first four cases from this batch are now concluded. In these cases the designated evaluating Member State decided not to ask any further information on these substances and hence no draft decision was prepared. The evaluating Member State has instead finalised its assessment and drawn conclusions about the suspected risks. This information is available in the conclusion documents. Additional information is available in the substance evaluation reports published on ECHA website.

The conclusion document summarises the evaluating Member State’s view on the potential need for risk management. However, this conclusion alone is not starting any new regulatory process and is not binding to the Member States or the Commission. The registrants, Member State competent authorities and the Commission are invited to take note of the conclusions drawn by the four Member States, and to consider if further actions for ensuring the safe use of the substances is necessary.

The four substances and the main conclusions drawn by the evaluating Member States are:

Ethylene oxide, EC 200-849-9, CAS 75-21-8 (evaluating Member State Austria)

Community level agreement is needed on an acceptable risk level for workers and the general population with regard to the carcinogenic potential of substances, including ethylene oxide.

In addition to the existing harmonised classification, the substance also fulfils classification criteria for skin sensitisation Category 1, H317 (May cause an allergic skin reaction).

Tributyl phosphate, EC 204-800-2, CAS 126-73-8 (Hungary)

There is no need for any additional risk management measures and the evaluation confirmed that the current CLP classification for the human health endpoints is appropriate.

m-Tolylidene diisocyanate (TDI), EC 247-722-4, CAS 26471-62-5 (Poland)

The risks were verified to be under appropriate control. However, exposure to TDI is linked with the development of occupational asthma. If current occupational exposure limits are complied with and good control of exposures at work places is followed, isocyanate related asthma can be minimised.

Toluene, EC 203-625-9, CAS 108-88-3 (Finland)

The available EU indicative occupational exposure limit (50 ppm) could be too high, and should be reconsidered by the Commission’s Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits. Evaluation agrees with the EU Risk Assessment Report from 2002 and concludes that 20 ppm is an appropriate long-term Derived No Effect Level-value for workers through the inhalation route.

Further information:

UK TUC welcomes whistleblowing report

Welcoming the review of whistleblowing policies and practices published by the Whistleblowing Commission TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Whistleblowing is an important way to root out malpractice and wrongdoing in a workplace. But with the blacklisting scandal showing that some people have had their careers wrecked for daring to speak out at work, most people are too scared to say anything for fear of retribution.

“It’s important that we have stronger legal protections and written workplace procedures for whistleblowers to underpin the important work that union reps do in supporting workers who speak out.”

More information:

First public consultation on a biocidal active substance launched

The first public consultation under the Biocidal Products Regulation will be on the active substance dinotefuran as a potential candidate for substitution. The consultation is open until 28 January 2014.

In Article 10 of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), the concept of active substances which are candidates for substitution is introduced, including criteria for the identification of such substances. During the approval process of an active substance, the evaluating competent authority will assess whether the substance meets these criteria, and is thereby a potential candidate for substitution. The competent authority will then report this information in the conclusions of their evaluation. In such cases, ECHA will initiate a public consultation during which third parties can submit relevant information, including information on available alternatives.

When an active substance is a candidate for substitution, biocidal products containing that active substance will become subject to a comparative assessment at the time of authorisation and will only be authorised if there are no better alternatives.

When a public consultation is launched, a new entry will appear in the dedicated ECHA web page. Third parties will have 60 days to submit information using the templates provided.

The first public consultation is now launched by ECHA for the new active substance dinotefuran, which is proposed to be used in biocidal products of product-type 18 (insecticides, acaricides and products to control other arthropods). The information received, if not confidential, will be published during the public consultation.

When the consultation period is over, ECHA will process the information received. The Agency will take account of the information when finalising the opinion on dinotefuran in the Biocidal Products Committee.

Further information:

The Second International Conference on Radiation and Dosimetry in Various Fields of Research (RAD 2014)

The Second International Conference on Radiation and Dosimetry in Various Fields of Research (RAD 2014) will take place at the Faculty of Electronic Engineering, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia, in the period from 27th – 30th May, 2014.

RAD 2012 Conference, in the opinion of the participants and our opinion, was very successful. It was interdisciplinary meeting gathered people from various fields of natural science, engineering, medicine and environmental protection, as well as social sciences and humanities. There were more than 190 abstracts and more than 150 participants from more than 30 countries, which was very good regarding the fact that this was the first conference. However, we expect for RAD 2014 Conference to be even more successful than RAD 2012 and we will do our best to make that happen.

The website for RAD 2014 Conference has already been created on the link, and all the necessary information will be uploaded there (there are currently all the basic information). Please note that you will be receiving all the important information and updates about RAD 2014 Conference as a part of our e-mail base.

Meanwhile, you can find all the information about the recently finished RAD 2012 Conference on the website - There are many interesting things to be found, including the Book of Abstract, Conference Proceedings, invited lectures, oral presentations, comments and impressions of participants, Joint Research Proposals, photos and video clips from RAD 2012 Conference, so feel free to visit the website.

We would like to invite you to take participation at RAD 2014 Conference, and to put the conference date into your schedule. If you plan to participate at RAD 2014 Conference, please fill-in the Preregistration form that will help us in organizing the conference. We are very happy that the impressions of participants of RAD 2012 Conference are very positive (please visit, and that obliges and motivates us to organize RAD 2014 Conference even better.

Goran Ristic, Conference Chairman |

New US NIOSH Publication Discusses Controlling Worker Exposures to Nanomaterials

The number of commercial applications of nanomaterials is growing at a tremendous rate. It is essential that producers and users of nanomaterials ensure a safe and healthy work environment for employees who may be exposed to these materials.

NIOSH’s new document entitled Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes discusses approaches and strategies to protect workers from potentially harmful exposures during nanomaterial manufacturing, use, and handling processes.

More information can be found at

5th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health

24-25 April 2014, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Organized by: Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the Arnold Leuftink Foundation, the Netherlands

Supported by: History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases

Topics: The 5th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health is rescheduled to 24-25 April 2014 (Thursday and Friday). It will be hosted by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This is the first conference in the Benelux, after the previous events in Europe (Rome, Italy, 1998; Norrköping, Sweden, 2001; Birmingham, England, 2007) and the United States (San Francisco, 2010). The morning sessions will be working sessions, focused on how descriptive historical studies may be transformed to an approach that provides a better understanding of underlying mechanisms that shape the history of Occupational Health Care and Care for the Environment. The main theme will be the process of framing of occupational diseases and occupational and environmental risk factors for health and safety. However, other themes may be addressed. The afternoon sessions will host contributions of ongoing research. In the closing afternoon discussions will be explored whether and where contributions may benefit from insights developed in the morning sessions.

As this is a working conference, attendance will be limited to 40-50 participants. There will be no poster session.

Abstracts are due before February 1st, 2014. Current abstracts, already submitted in spring 2013 will be acknowledged by the Local Organizing Committee before January 1st, 2014.

The conclusions of this conference will be presented and discussed in the 31st International Conference on Occupational Health of the ICOH that is scheduled for May 31 - June 5, 2015 in Seoul, Korea. A further pathway will be discussed there.

Contact Information: E-mail: