Rules on how much light workers can be exposed to is taking regulation too far, according to a large part of the European Parliament. Yet the members backing the draft Optical Radiation Directive cite alarming death rates and incidence of disease attributed to high exposure.
The law coming up for a vote aims to protect workers from artificial and natural forms of radiation — as in sunshine — that can damage eyes and skin.
One defender of the measures says the rate of skin cancer among farm workers in Germany has risen by 15-20 percent in the last decade. All workers in extended exposure jobs are being considered, including waiters.
According to some figures, more than 2,000 people die each year from skin cancer in Britain alone. Artificial radiation comes from devices such as lasers and ultra-violet lamps. The Socialists and Greens argue that an EU law in this area is vital to reduce the potential for harm. The liberals and conservatives denounce the draft, saying it over-burdens business.