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Unit 4.1 Exposure Scenarios

Unit 4.1, Exposure Scenarios, focuses on the statutory duties assigned to Division 4 under European chemicals legislation.

In addition to this, Unit 4.1 cooperates closely on research and development projects with other units in the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA) and researchers at other institutions. With these cooperative activities and its own projects, Unit 4.1 lays the scientific and methodological foundations that enable it to fulfil its statutory duties. Apart from this, the unit performs functions in the fields of knowledge management and practice transfer, and provides advice about the assessment of inhalation and dermal exposure to substances and mixtures. Its responsibilities also include the development and assessment of protective measures for industrial and commercial activities involving the handling of chemicals and biocidal products.

In order to be able to carry out these duties effectively, Unit 4.1 is divided into two subunits.

Subunit 4.1 a, REACH and Exposure Research, works on the estimation and assessment of exposure in the workplace under the REACH Regulation. This involves in particular:

  • the identification and regulation of substances of very high concern subject to authorisation and restriction
  • the evaluation of substances and registration dossiers

The main topics addressed in exposure research are the development and validation of methods for the estimation of inhalation and dermal exposure to substances and mixtures in the workplace. It therefore provides the basis for approaches to risk assessment that take account of the effectiveness of technical, organisational, and personal protective measures. Furthermore, it encourages the use of low-emission techniques and work processes to ensure activities involving the handling of substances and mixtures are designed safely. Cooperative activities with higher education institutions also contribute to the training of up-and-coming young scientists to work in exposure science.

The results of the subunits' research are used to develop and provide support tools, in particular:

  • modular exposure models for workplace risk assessment under the chemicals safety regulations
  • a database on dermal exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace

The subunit contributes purposefully to the deliberations of national and international bodies that are relevant for the discharge of its statutory duties. Among other things, it participates in the further development of legislation, technical regulations, guidelines, and guidance documents within the following bodies:

  • the German Committee on Hazardous Substances subcommittees and working groups concerned with the development of technical rules for hazardous substances
  • the OECD Working Party on Exposure Assessment
  • the European Chemicals Agency working groups concerned with the development of REACH guidance documents

Subunit 4.1 b, Biocide Exposure Assessment, works on the estimation and assessment of exposure in the workplace under the European Biocidal Products Regulation. This involves in particular:

  • the national and EU-wide authorisation of biocidal products and biocidal product families
  • the mutual recognition of foreign authorisations
  • the approval of biocidal active substances

The subunit participates in and delivers opinions on the further development of legislation, technical rules, guidelines, and guidance documents on biocidal products and contributes purposefully to the deliberations of national and international bodies that are relevant for the discharge of its statutory duties, including:

  • the German Committee on Hazardous Substances working groups concerned with the development of technical rules for hazardous substances
  • the European working groups concerned with the development of guidance on exposure estimation for the risk assessment of occupational activities involving the handling of biocidal products

The main topics addressed in the projects it conducts are the identification of inhalation and dermal exposure and the derivation of risk-based packages of protective measures for selected activities involving the handling of biocidal products.

Contact

WissD Dr Urs Schlüter

Head of Unit 4.1 Exposure Scenarios

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