Unit 4.3 Toxicology
Unit 4.3 works in the field of toxicology. This concerns the science of poisons. The unit analyses and evaluates experimental data on the hazardous properties of substances. It focuses on these effects of hazardous substances that have a specific impact on the health risk in a workplace. It describes the risk-related, hazardous properties of a substance. Is it toxic to the liver? Does it cause cancer?
Knowledge about the hazardous properties of substances is necessary but not sufficient for the derivation of occupational exposure limits and the assessment of health risks. Our work centres around 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 the division that deals with hazardous substances. It implements the work results of different units: the 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.
The tasks are:
- 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
The activities for securing our competence regarding toxicological and risk-related methods:
- Internal and external toxicological training of the 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 European Biocide Process
- Co-operation in the European REACH Process