Occupational Exposure Limit values (OELs) are regulatory values which indicate levels of exposure that are considered to be safe (health based) for a chemical substance in the air of a workplace.
Based on the request by the Commission on 26 March 2019, ECHA started the evaluation of diisocyanates under the EU’s Chemicals Agents Directive (98/24/EC) to establish, if appropriate, an occupational exposure limit (OEL). This measure will introduce a binding OEL on a Union-wide basis.
On 24th November 2021, the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) has published an Opinion proposing an OEL for diisocyanates.
The ACSH Opinion stems from the Working Party on Chemicals (WPC), which brings together interest groups representing workers, employers and governments. Together they have agreed on a value of 12 μg NCO /m3 as STEL with a transition period of 20 μg NCO /m3 until the 1st of January 2029.
ISOPA considers that it represents the lowest workable solution for the polyurethane value chain to strive towards the zero-diisocyanates induced-asthma goal.
In February 2023, the Commission has published its proposal with an overall occupational exposure limit of 6µg NCO/m3 and a short-term exposure limit of 12µg NCO/m3. A transitional value of 10 μg NCO/m³ with an associated short-term exposure limit equal to 20 μg NCO/m³ should apply until 31 December 2028. The proposal will now move to the European Parliament and the Council for voting. ISOPA has engaged and is still engaging with all decision-makers involved in the process to ensure the best possible outcome for the industry.