Page thématique

Occupational health

Prevention of occupational risks is a major public health issue. Every day at work, we may be faced with a variety of hazards: not only exposure to biological, physical or chemical agents, but also the effects of different work organisation methods. ANSES contributes to the production of knowledge on occupational hazards, exposure and risk assessment. Its work enables companies, authorities and other prevention stakeholders to better protect workers, in particular by anticipating emerging risks.

News

The Appelsprojetsrecherche.fr portal celebrates its first year
24/10/2022
News

The Appelsprojetsrecherche.fr portal celebrates its first year

ANSES is joining the other founding members of the Appelsprojetsrecherche.fr portal in marking its first anniversary. The portal was created to increase the visibility of project-based research funding opportunities, and centralises all the calls for projects from the major research funding players in France. Besides ANSES, the co-founders of the portal are ADEME, ANR, INCa and Inserm/ANRS-MIE.
Radiofrequencies and health: research in a fast-moving environment
23/11/2022

Radiofrequencies and health: research in a fast-moving environment

Applications of radiofrequency communication technologies have developed considerably over the last 20 years and now include the mobile web, contactless authentication, connected objects, and more. In a context where uses of these technologies, the conditions of exposure and the frequencies used are rapidly changing, and given the disorders and symptoms that have been attributed to them, the research community continues to be highly active in this area, regularly producing new knowledge on the human health effects of radio waves.
Occupational asthma : gender differences identified
Coiffeuse faisant un shampoing
14/09/2022

Occupational asthma : gender differences identified

The data of the National Network for the Monitoring and Prevention of Occupational Diseases, led by ANSES, have highlighted differences in the industry sectors and environmental triggers of workers with occupational asthma.
Encouraging formaldehyde substitution in several occupational sectors
11/02/2022
News

Encouraging formaldehyde substitution in several occupational sectors

Formaldehyde has been recognised as a carcinogen at European level and must be substituted by other substances or processes to protect the health of exposed workers. ANSES carried out several expert appraisals to identify less hazardous alternatives in five occupational sectors, examining the enabling factors and barriers to substitution in several industries. This work will support the government in enforcing substitution requirements among employers. It should also help those involved in the prevention of occupational health risks to support substitution efforts.
National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health: results of the 2021 calls for research projects
03/12/2021
News

National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health: results of the 2021 calls for research projects

Thirty-three research projects have been selected by ANSES under the 2021 PNR EST. They will receive a total of €6 million in funding. This research will provide new knowledge on environmental risks to human health, in the general population or at work, and to ecosystems.
Cumulative exposure in the workplace: 12 profiles to inform prevention policies
23/11/2021
News

Cumulative exposure in the workplace: 12 profiles to inform prevention policies

During their careers, employees may be exposed simultaneously to a number of sources of stress likely to affect their health in the short or long term. These include night work, exposure to biological agents or chemicals, a lack of resources, or workplace tensions. Taking account of this cumulative exposure or multiple exposure is a major challenge in developing effective prevention policies and improving occupational health in France. A study conducted jointly by ANSES, Santé Publique France and DARES shows that all employees are concerned, regardless of their occupation or sector of activity. It also describes a number of typical profiles for cumulative exposure.
ANSES & Inserm scientific conference
29/10/2021

ANSES & Inserm scientific conference

The exposome concept arose from the need to gain a better understanding of the health impact of the various exposures of an individual over a lifetime, taking into account environmental exposure to chemical, physical and biological agents on the one hand and socio-economic factors on the other. Today, one of the aims of research is to characterise the various facets of the exposome and its impact on the occurrence of human diseases, especially chronic diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and endocrine disorders, and study potential interactions between the components of the exposome and between the exposome and biological parameters. The ultimate goal will be to estimate the overall health impact of the exposome and if possible, classify the roles of various risk factors. This need is currently recognised by scientists and society and is gradually being incorporated into public policies. Better understanding the exposome is one of the objectives of the fourth edition of the National Environmental Health Action Plan, and the concept has been written into the French Public Health Code. However, questions are still being raised regarding the tools to be promoted and the methodological approaches to be implemented to ensure that the exposome takes its rightful place in the various spheres of public health expertise and ultimately in the field of risk management. To review the current state of research on this topic, ANSES and Inserm are organising a scientific conference on “Exposome and public health: from research to expertise” on 30 November 2021 at Espace du Centenaire – Maison de la RATP, Paris 75012. On the programme : an overview of the exposome concept and how it is being used for purposes of research and environmental health risk assessments; a review of the research work undertaken by Inserm or financed by the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health, along with a summary of the research projects implemented by large European consortia. The four sessions will address the following topics: characterisation and description of the exposome; the social exposome; single exposure to mixtures and interactions; exposome and disease burden. The day will conclude with a summary round-table discussion. Open to all, this event is aimed more particularly at the scientific community, associations, professionals and decision-makers interested in the exposome. For people who are interested, this event will be live-streamed so it can be attended remotely. Information to this end will be sent out shortly.
Seeking a more protective European definition for nanomaterials
23/07/2021
News

Seeking a more protective European definition for nanomaterials

In the European Union, the definition of nanomaterial varies according to the industry sector. The European Commission launched a public consultation to revise the definition of nanomaterial with a view to possible harmonisation. In its response, ANSES urged the Commission not to exclude from this definition certain nanomaterials that could still be problematic for human health and the environment.
Recognising the carcinogenic nature of cytostatic drugs in order to improve occupational risk prevention
20/07/2021
News

Recognising the carcinogenic nature of cytostatic drugs in order to improve occupational risk prevention

Many professionals – nurses, caregivers, doctors, veterinarians, cleaning staff, etc. – are potentially exposed to cytostatics, which are drugs used in particular during chemotherapy to treat cancer. ANSES is recommending that work involving exposure to 18 cytostatic active ingredients be included in the ministerial order establishing the list of carcinogenic processes under employment law. The Agency is also issuing recommendations on how to protect and raise awareness among potentially exposed workers and employers.
What are the risks of virtual reality and augmented reality, and what good practices does ANSES recommend?
24/06/2021
News

What are the risks of virtual reality and augmented reality, and what good practices does ANSES recommend?

Virtual and augmented reality are increasingly used in a wide variety of fields including healthcare, training, real estate, safety and leisure. In parallel with this deployment, ANSES decided to take a closer look at the impact of the population's exposure to these emerging technologies and the possible associated health effects. It is now calling for users to observe a few good practices to limit the adverse effects associated with these new uses. This expert appraisal follows on from earlier work by the Agency, which for several years has been studying the health impact of new digital technologies – 3D , screens , etc. – in a world where their applications are multiplying and uses are constantly evolving.
7th Scientific Day of the Institut Santé-Travail Paris-Est (IST-PE)
19/04/2021

7th Scientific Day of the Institut Santé-Travail Paris-Est (IST-PE)

The seventh Scientific Day of the Institut Santé-Travail Paris-Est will take place on Thursday 18 November 2021. The topic of the day will be "Health, Work & the Healthcare Environment". The day will begin with an introductory conference which will be followed by three theme-based sessions: "Quality of life at work in healthcare environments", "Occupational exposure" and "Health aspects". Work in a healthcare environment concerns a very wide range of medical and paramedical professionals, in a variety of contexts (public or private hospitals, private practice, services to individuals). In addition to biological risks, which have recently come to the fore, workers are confronted with many other occupational risks (physical, organisational, and psychosocial). The aim of this event is to address, in specific theme-based sessions, recent data on occupational exposures in this sector of activity, results concerning health data for this type of worker, and presentations relating to the quality of life at work in care-based settings. The Day is intended for the many actors concerned by occupational health, workers from the various care environments, whether they are researchers, occupational health workers, institutions, social partners, management or human resource workers. Participation in this day-long event is free of charge, but for organisational and security reasons, registration is required before 1 October by contacting Ms Julie CAPON - Julie.Capon@chicreteil.fr - 01 57 02 28 77 The Organizing Committee : Pascal ANDUJAR - Milia BELACEL - Jean-Baptiste BOUDIN-LESTIENNE - Jean-Claude PAIRON Scientific Committee : Henri BASTOS - Christos CHOUAÏD - Gérard LASFARGUES - Mélina LE BARBIER - Corinne MANDIN - Jean-Claude PAIRON
"Helping improve the system of prevention, recognition and compensation for occupational diseases in France". Three questions for Henri Bastos, Occupational Health Scientific Director at ANSES
06/04/2021
News

"Helping improve the system of prevention, recognition and compensation for occupational diseases in France". Three questions for Henri Bastos, Occupational Health Scientific Director at ANSES

The French government has decided to carry out independent collective expert appraisals to support the development of occupational disease tables and thereby improve the recognition of occupational diseases in France. These scientific appraisals call on ANSES's expertise.

Decryption

Identifying alternatives to formaldehyde
11/02/2022

Identifying alternatives to formaldehyde

What is formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is a chemical compound occurring at room temperature as a colourless and flammable gas. It is often marketed in its liquid form, commonly known as formalin. How does exposure to formaldehyde occur? Formaldehyde is used in many occupational sectors and consumer products. It is a biocidal product used as a disinfectant, fixative and preservative. It is found in DIY and cleaning products, in wall coverings, flooring and furniture panelling and fabrics, plastics and other products. In the general population, exposure can occur through a wide range of formaldehyde sources in indoor air, including from fixtures and fittings, and decorating and household products that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also released by combustion of cigarettes and tobacco products, candles, incense sticks and in open fireplaces and combustion appliances such as gas cookers and paraffin stoves. According to the findings of the 2017 SUMER survey, more than 185,000 workers were exposed to formaldehyde (PDF) (in French) (not counting exposure through formaldehyde-based resins and adhesives). The greatest exposure is in the health sector and in anatomical and cytological pathology laboratories (anatomical pathologists), the funeral industry (embalmers), agriculture, the chemical, food, paper and board, timber and furniture industries and in construction. What are the effects on health? The critical effects of acute or chronic formaldehyde exposure in humans are irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Airborne formaldehyde also causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans, as observed in epidemiological studies of workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde. How is formaldehyde regulated? Key formaldehyde dates: 2004 : The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified formaldehyde as a “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) for nasopharyngeal cancer by inhalation. 2006 : The French Ministry of Labour included “work involving exposure to formaldehyde” on the list of carcinogenic substances, preparations and processes, as defined by the Labour Code, in an Order dated July 2006. This became effective on 1 January 2007 and requires the implementation of formaldehyde substitution measures as a priority. 2009 : Nasopharyngeal cancer was recognised as an occupational disease (Table 43 bis on cancerous conditions caused by formaldehyde) when linked to exposure in the workplace for 5 years through tasks such as formalin preparation, formaldehyde use in embalming and anatomical and cytological pathology laboratories, manufacture and use of formaldehyde-based resins and wood flooring varnishes, and fire extinguishing. 2014 : Following ANSES’s classification proposal , formaldehyde was classified as a Category 1B carcinogen and Category 2 mutagen at European level by Commission Regulation (EU) No 605/2014 of 5 June 2014. 2019 : A binding occupational exposure limit was adopted at European level (Directive 2019/983/EC), which was then transposed into French law by Decree No 2020-1546 of 9 December 2020. 2020 : Following an evaluation by the German Government, formaldehyde was approved as a biocidal active substance for product types 2 and 3 for a reduced period of 3 years. Companies marketing disinfectant biocidal products containing formaldehyde were required to apply for a marketing authorisation before 1 February 2022, with supporting arguments demonstrating that the products do not cause human or environmental exposure and why they are essential. What does ANSES’s work on the risks associated with formaldehyde use include? For more than ten years, ANSES has been conducting various expert assessments to evaluate the toxicity of formaldehyde, qualify and reduce human exposure, particularly in the workplace, and evaluate health risks. Assessing the risks for people (general population and workers) After formaldehyde was classified by the IARC in June 2004, the Agency was asked to assess the health risks associated with formaldehyde in indoor, outdoor (PDF) (in French) and occupational environments (PDF) (in French) . The main conclusions of two expert appraisal reports published by ANSES in 2008 were as follows: ranking sources of formaldehyde in indoor environments and evaluating their respective contributions to the exposure of the general population is challenging; the risk of cancer in the general population can be ruled out for both adults and children; the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer in workers cannot be ruled out in a number of occupational sectors with repeated high levels of exposure; the formaldehyde content of products intended for the general public should be reduced, and such products should be labelled with their formaldehyde emission levels. Reducing formaldehyde emissions at source In 2006 and 2009, ANSES proposed a protocol to identify and promote “low-emitting” building materials and decorating products among consumers. This work has been useful for developing French legislation on the labelling of these materials. In 2014, ANSES worked on priority chemicals to support the government in implementing future labelling requirements for volatile contaminants from furniture products (PDF) (in French) . Formaldehyde was identified as one of these priority chemicals for labelling. Regulating the use of formaldehyde In 2011, ANSES drafted and submitted a proposal on behalf of the French Government for a stricter classification of formaldehyde at European level. On the basis of this proposal, formaldehyde was classified as a category 1B carcinogen and a category 2 mutagen. In 2013, ANSES and the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands) jointly took charge of the assessment of formaldehyde under the REACH Regulation. Following this review of occupational risks (PDF) (in French) , ANSES identified health risks for workers in several occupational sectors and recommended the implementation of a risk reduction strategy. In 2017, ANSES examined different options for regulatory control of formaldehyde (PDF) (in French) in order to reduce and manage the risks for workers, and recommended the establishment of a binding occupational exposure limit at European level. Establishing health reference values The Agency develops health reference values for the general population and workers based on toxicity data. These reference values are based on health criteria and aim to protect people from any adverse effects due to exposure to chemicals. In 2017, in the light of new published data, it updated the reference values for formaldehyde, the earliest of which dated from 2007: acute and chronic toxicity reference values (TRVs) by inhalation were set at 123 µg.m-3. TRVs are toxicological indicators used to qualify or quantify the risk to human health associated with exposure to a chemical. They are used by companies and research institutions to demonstrate risk management and by government to establish recommendations on risk management; the indoor air quality guideline (IAQG) was set at 100 µg.m-3 to align it with WHO’s 2010 indoor air guideline. ANSES’s recommended IAQGs are airborne chemical concentration thresholds under which no health impacts or harm are expected in the general population; occupational exposure limits (OELs) were aligned with values set by the 2019 European Directive: an 8h-OEL of 350 µg.m-3 and a 15min-STEL of 700 µg.m-3. ANSES’s recommended OELs are usually airborne chemical concentration levels that workers can breathe during a specified period without experiencing adverse health effects. The concentration levels are determined for a homogeneous exposed population (workers) that excludes children and the elderly. Reducing health risks in the workplace Beyond recommending occupational exposure limits for formaldehyde, which will limit exposure levels in the workplace once introduced at the regulatory level, ANSES received a request from the government in 2014 for guidance on the potential substitution of formaldehyde in five occupational sectors : the feed industry (PDF) (in French) , mainly for formaldehyde treatment of soybean cakes; anatomical and cytological pathology (PDF) (in French) in medical diagnostics; embalming (PDF) (in French) ; the food industry, particularly the manufacture of sugar (PDF) (in French) and alginates (PDF) (in French) ; fish farming (PDF) (in French) . To carry out this work, the Agency developed an overall method for comparing a chemical to its alternatives. Expert appraisals in occupational diseases ANSES is currently conducting expert appraisals on the links between occupational exposure to formaldehyde and leukaemia, including myeloid leukaemia. This work will provide the scientific information needed for discussing any changes to the existing occupational disease tables or recommending new tables.
COVID-19 research
02/08/2021

COVID-19 research

Working at the interface between human and animal health, in the spirit of "One Health", ANSES's laboratories help provide effective, rapid responses to issues of applied research that can be implemented immediately. As an example, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ANSES has been deploying its research teams, its expert knowledge of zoonoses and animal coronaviruses, and its network of laboratories to improve our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and respond to questions that have arisen from this crisis. Here is an overview of the various projects undertaken by the Agency.
How are scientific expert appraisals for occupational diseases conducted?
06/04/2021

How are scientific expert appraisals for occupational diseases conducted?

When a worker exposed to hazards such as toxic substances contracts a disease while doing their job, this disease may be recognised as an occupational disease and give rise to compensation. To improve access to this recognition, the French government has decided to carry out independent, collective scientific expert appraisals. This preliminary expert appraisal stage has been entrusted to ANSES. How are occupational diseases recognised in France? What do the scientific expert appraisals conducted by ANSES involve? Here are some explanations.
One Health
16/11/2020

One Health

The "One Health" concept was first put forward in the early 2000s, with growing awareness of the close links between human health, animal health and the overall state of the environment. It aims to promote a multidisciplinary, global approach to health issues. ANSES's work is fully in line with the One Health concept, and the Agency is coordinating several projects based on it.
Nanomaterials
19/06/2020

Nanomaterials

Nanomaterials are increasingly being used in many everyday products, including foods, cosmetics, medications, etc. Their presence raises multiple questions about the risks they may pose to human health and to the environment. Below is a detailed review of ANSES's work on nanomaterials.
COVID-19: all ANSES's news
21/04/2020

COVID-19: all ANSES's news

Since the beginning of the pandemic, ANSES has been making its expertise available to public decision-makers for the prevention of COVID-19-related health risks. The Agency has also been offering its expertise in its specific areas of competence – food and nutrition, animal health, occupational health, etc. – to provide the public with useful guidelines on how to organise daily life and protect health during this period. This page lists all the work carried out by the Agency and provides an overview of its organisation at this unprecedented time.
Biological limit values for chemicals used in the workplace
01/10/2019

Biological limit values for chemicals used in the workplace

Determining occupational exposure limits for chemicals requires different but complementary approaches that may involve measuring substances in the atmosphere of the work environment, measuring surface contamination of workstations and biomonitoring of workers, in other words monitoring biological markers which reflect worker exposure. Consequently, whenever ANSES considers it to be relevant, it may, in addition to atmospheric OELs, propose biological limit values which could be used for biological monitoring of exposure by occupational physicians.
Climate change and health
30/05/2018

Climate change and health

Climate change is a reality on which there is broad consensus in the scientific community. Because of the inertia of the climate system, changes to the climate related to human activities will continue for many years, regardless of any measures taken today. Combating climate change, which is part of a more global environmental change, is therefore essential to limit its magnitude.
Exposure to silver nanoparticles
05/04/2018

Exposure to silver nanoparticles

Silver nanoparticles are used in various industrial applications, in sectors such as food (additives, food packaging, internal linings of refrigerators), textiles (clothing and bedding) and cosmetic and hygiene products (toothbrushes, hair straighteners, disinfectant sprays, etc.). They are mainly used for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, it is still proving very difficult to obtain an inventory referencing all products containing silver nanoparticles in France and elsewhere in the world. In 2011, ANSES received a formal request to update knowledge on the assessment of health and environmental risks associated with exposure to silver nanoparticles.
Occupational exposure limits for chemical agents
26/07/2017

Occupational exposure limits for chemical agents

Since 2005, the Agency has been responsible for organising the independent, multidisciplinary, collective scientific expert appraisal needed for setting occupational exposure limits (OELs). A dedicated expert committee has therefore been set up to support the Agency in this mission. At the same time, ANSES is also responsible for drafting a list of chemicals for priority assessment, which it proposes to the French Ministry of Labour, thus enabling the Ministry to develop the programme for the OEL expert mission after consultation with the social partners.
Atmospheric limit values for chemicals used in the workplace
26/07/2017

Atmospheric limit values for chemicals used in the workplace

The Agency has been mandated by the French Ministry of Labour to organise the phase of independent collective scientific expert appraisal needed to develop atmospheric occupational exposure limits (OELs) based on health criteria. These limits are tools used to restrict the concentration of pollutants in workplace air.
ANSES: a brief outline
30/07/2015

ANSES: a brief outline

Created on 1 July 2010, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) is an independent scientific body which performs its risk assessment, reference and research activities in the fields of food safety and animal and plant health. Its core activity is the assessment of health risks in order to enable the public authorities to make informed decisions and in so doing to help ensure the health and safety of of the population both in its working and consumer activities

Publications

Document PDF
Health reference values
Thematique
Occupational health
Date de mise en ligne
11/02/2022
Numéro de saisine
2014-SA-0236