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Indicative exposure limits

The nearest that the EU has to a set of common occupational exposure limits are the indicative limit values (ILVs), now known as indicative occupational exposure limit values (IOELVs).

A system of IOELVs was first introduced in 1980 by article 9 of directive 80/1107/EEC but the first list of 27 substances was not created until directive 91/322/EC in 1991. As part of a directive, these had no direct force but required each member state to take them into account when setting its own national limits. This first list was amended by directive 2006/15/EC in 2006 which transferred 10 of the 27 to a different regulatory regime. A second list was defined in directive 96/94/EEC but this was repealed by directive 2000/39/EC. In 1998, directive 80/1107 was repealed and replaced by the chemical agents directive (directive 98/24/EC). This directive includes provision for the development of IOELVs at community level. IOELVs set under this framework will have a mandatory requirement for member states to adopt them as their OELs. As previously though, the member state does not have to adopt the value of an IOELV as its legally binding exposure limit if it believes it can justify not doing so. ILVs published under the repealed directives were not included in this more stringent requirement. Article 3 of the directive led to the creation of the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limit Values (SCOEL) to advise the European Commission on the value of new IOELVs. There have subsequently been two directives establishing further lists of IOELVs: 2000/39/EC (first list) and 2006/15/EC (second list). A third list is expected very soon.

A number of glycol ethers have IOELVs established for them and these are listed below:

Directive Substance 8hr TWA 15 min STEL Notation
mg/m3 ppm mg/m3 ppm
2000/39 PGME 375 100 568 150 Skin
2000/39 PGMA 275 50 550 100 Skin
2000/39 DPGME 308 50 Skin
2000/39 EGBE 98 20 246 50 Skin
2000/39 EGBEA 133 20 333 50 Skin
2006/15 DEGME 50.1 10 Skin
2006/15 DEGBEA 67.5 10 101.2 15

Within the proposed 3rd list, IOELVs are included for EGEE, EGME and their respective acetate esters