The Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC) of the Universitat Jaume I de Castelló, has announced the legislative changes regarding exposure to respirable crystalline silica, whose toxicity it has been trying to reduce considerably under the European SILIFE project.
“Precisely” – explains the Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Jaume I de Castellón and head of the Sustainability Area of the ITC, Eliseo Monfort, researcher and coordinator of the project – “the European Commission has published a few months ago a new amendment to the Directive regulating the exposure of workers to carcinogens and mutagens in their working environment (Directive (EU) 2017/2398) and has included them in it: “Work involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust generated in a work process” as a carcinogen, setting an occupational exposure limit of 0.1 mg/m3, to be reviewed in the next evaluation of the implementation of the Directive. The member countries have until 17 January 2020 to transpose it into their respective legislation,” he says.
“On the other hand, Royal Decree 1299/2006, which establishes the framework of occupational diseases in Spain, has been modified by Royal Decree 257/2018. This new Royal Decree includes free silica dust as a causative agent of lung cancer”, says Professor Monfort, who continues: “these new legislative developments make studies aimed at reducing exposure to respirable crystalline silica or reducing its toxicity particularly important, as in the case of the SILIFE project on which we are working firmly and which we will soon be able to offer results”.
ABOUT THE SILIFE PROJECT
The reduction of toxicity due to respirable crystalline quartz silica is precisely one of the main objectives of the SILIFE project (LIFE14 ENV/ES/000238). That is why SILIFE focuses on producing commercial quartz powders with very low or no SCR toxicity. To achieve this, a pilot plant for the treatment of commercial quartz powders has been designed and is under construction. The treated quartz produced in this plant will be verified by industrial tests carried out by several end-users from different industrial sectors.
SILIFE tiene una duración de cuatro años y está financiado por la Comisión Europea dentro del Programa de Política y Gobernanza Medioambientales, a través del programa LIFE.
It is coordinated by the Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC) and involves private companies such as the Spanish companies BLC, ABCR, ESMALGLASS-ITACA and FUMBARRI, as well as the Italian companies MAPEI and ELASTOMERS
Other participating research centres are the CCB of Italy and the Fraunhofer-ITEM of Germany, as well as the Spanish Platform for Industrial Safety (PESI), in order to combine their experience and resources to produce quartz on a commercial scale with zero or very low toxicity, minimising or eliminating the possibility of contracting diseases such as those mentioned above in the industrial environments of people exposed to these materials.
More information: www.silife-project.eu