Crystalline silica is an essential component in a multitude of materials used in industrial production and life. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is the respirable dust fraction of crystalline silica which enters the body by inhalation. Although crystalline silica is ubiquitous in nature, the inhalation of RCS may constitute a hazard to workers.
In December 2017, the amended Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) was published in the Official Journal. The reviewed directive sets a European Binding Occupational Exposure Limit (BOEL) for RCS generated by a work process at 0.1 mg/m³. From this date forth, the Member States have 2 years to transpose it into national legislation. Nevertheless, most European Member States have already set national RCS OEL values, some of which are stricter than the European value.
Article 18a of the CMD specifies that the European Commission will evaluate the need to modify this limit value as part of the next evaluation of the implementation of the Directive. Article 17a of the directive 89/391/EEC further specifies that “Member States have 5 years to submit an implementation report after CMD enters into force and that the Commission has to inform the results of their evaluation within 36 months”. As a result, the RCS BOELV will not be revised before 8 years.