Do regulations protect workers from occupational exposures to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) agents in France?

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Abstract

Objective

This article explores the impact of regulations on the implementation of collective protections in France to occupational exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) agents.

Methods

Individual data from the French national cross-sectional survey of occupational hazards conducted in 2010 were analysed. We investigated whether stricter regulations and longer exposures were associated with higher level of collective protection using multivariate logistic regressions.

Results

General ventilation, for which effect is limited as collective protection for CMR products, was present in 19% of situations involving CMR agents while isolation chambers, the most effective form of protection, were only very rarely implemented. Multilevel logistic regressions show that exposure situations to products classified as category 1 or 2 by the European Union do not have a higher probability of benefiting from a collective protection measures. Exposures to products with a Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Value selectively benefited from a better level of protection. Exposures to agents entered on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) list of proven or probable carcinogens benefited more from effective collective protections than products suspected to be carcinogens but not yet classified by IARC.

Conclusions

These results suggest that the dissemination of evaluations of carcinogens by the IARC translate into improved protective measures even though the IARC classification has no mandatory impact on regulations.

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