Unit Exposure Assessment of Hazardous Products

Substances in products on their own or in combination as a mixture may cause health disorders or poisonings. In order to prevent users from health risks the BfR 'Exposure Assessment of Hazardous Products' unit is tasked with receiving and processing of notifications on

  • Products classified as hazardous
  • All detergents and cleaning products subject to European or national legal notification obligations

For the same reason physicians are obliged to report poisonings, or cases where a poisoning is suspected, to the BfR.

Based on the gathered data, the BfR provides information to the public on poisoning risks as well as product information for the poisons centres of Germany's federal states for formulating a medical response in case of a health emergency.

Different legal provisions form the basis for these notification obligations.

Further information can be found on the following pages:

BfR Committee for the Assessment of Intoxications

The 'Exposure Assessment of Hazardous Products' unit also manages the BfR Committee for the Assessment of Intoxications. Through this committee the BfR maintains close dialogue with experts from several specialities relevant for clinical toxicology.

Poisons Centres of the German Federal States

The poison centres of the German federal states report to the BfR about particularly relevant cases of poisoning, based on own assessment or, upon request of the BfR, in individual cases of substance-based health disorders and suspected poisonings in order to evaluate the health-related risks to the public (§ 16e (3) Chemicals Act).

In a pilot study in 2018 and 2019, the German poisons centres, the German speaking Society of Clinical Toxicology (GfKT) and the BfR tested joint data gathering in order to establish national poisoning monitoring.

The study focussed on poisoning events caused by eight designated product classes: electronic cigarettes (including refill liquids, so-called e-liquids), food supplements, waterproofing sprays, pesticides, paint removers, ricin, botulinum toxins and ciguatera-contaminated fish.

Link to the project report (available in German only):

Focus of the Unit's Work

  • Receipt and validation of product information on hazardous chemical products and detergent and cleaning agents and forwarding to the German poisons centres
  • Maintenance and further development of the validation procedure for product notifications in the harmonised European PCN format in cooperation with the European Chemicals Agency ECHA
  • Responding to company enquiries regarding the notification of hazardous products
  • Processing and evaluation of medical notifications on poisonings
  • Reporting on poisoning events on behalf of the risk assessment processes of authorities
  • Communication with the public about poisoning risks
  • Management of the BfR Committee for the Assessment of Intoxications
  • Collaboration with national and international authorities, scientific societies and poisons centres with reference to the improvement of poison prevention and treatment

Publications

The unit's publications relate to product notification procedures and the transformation process from national notification formats to European standards between 2021 and 2024. It also focusses on supporting management measures of poisoning risks in private use.


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