Unit 4.I.3 Toxicology

Unit 4.I.3 works in the field of toxicology - the science of poisons. The unit analyses and evaluates experimental data and human data on the hazardous properties of substances.

It focuses on those effects of hazardous substances that have a decisive impact on the health risk in a workplace. Tue unit describes the risk-related, hazardous properties of a substance. Is it toxic to the liver? Does it cause cancer?

For the derivation of occupational exposure limits and the assessment of health risks, knowledge about the hazardous properties of substances is necessary but not sufficient. Our work centres on the assessment of the toxic potency of hazardous substances. Are small doses of this substance already liver-toxic? Is this a particularly potent carcinogenic substance?

The unit is integrated into all of the division's hazardous substance-related fields of activity. It connects the work results of different units: unit 4.3 characterises the health risks of hazardous substances based on its toxicological evaluations concerning the effect and toxic potency of substances and relates this to the inhalative and/or dermal exposure estimates at workplaces determined by other units.


  • Classification of hazardous substances
  • Derivation of occupational exposure limits
  • Determination of exposure-risk relationships for carcinogenic substances
  • Risk analysis of hazardous substances in the workplace

Activities for securing our competence regarding toxicological and risk-related methods:

  • Internal and external toxicological training of staff members
  • Development of classification criteria for hazardous substances
  • Concept development for the derivation of occupational exposure limits and of reference values for carcinogenic substances
  • Initiation and support of research projects concerning current issues of risk-related toxicology (current focus: nanomaterials)

Integration into national and European processes and committees dealing with hazardous substances:

  • Co-operation in the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS)
  • Co-operation in the of the Permanent Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (MAK Commission) of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Co-operation in the European Biocide Process
  • Co-operation in the European REACH Process

Further Information


WissOR'in Dr Claudia Drossard

Head of
Unit 4.I.3 Toxicology

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