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Update on EU Proposal for an Inhalable Flour Dust Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL)

The EU Working Party on Chemicals (WPC) met in June and discussed flour dust as an example of a workplace asthmagen. There was agreement that it would not be possible to recommend a health-based exposure limit for flour dust, since it is not possible to identify a threshold for the key health effect of respiratory sensitisation below which there are no adverse health effects.

As there was agreement that it is not possible to set a health-based limit for flour dust the only other option at EU level is to set a binding limit under the Chemical Agents Directive. If the European Commission follow this line the next opportunity to do so is not expected to arise before mid-2016. When this issue reappears on the agenda and there is further information, HSE will contact interested stakeholders.

In the interim, the current UK Workplace Exposure Limits for flour dust continues to apply, together with the requirement to reduce exposure to asthmagens to as low a level as reasonably practicable. 

The HSE has launched a new Dust Hub website for guidance on controlling exposure to dust in the workplace.