Regulation of Chemicals and Biocides

Knowledge is needed about chemical substances, their short and long-term effects, their characteristics, and appropriate risk management techniques in order to ensure human health and the environment are protected when use is made of chemicals and biocides. The regulation of chemicals and biocides is marked by the interaction of national and EU legislation, as well as a complex patchwork of competences. The work done at the interfaces between all the relevant actors is therefore of essential significance. It is here that the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA) performs a range of important tasks and functions at the national and European levels, in particular in its role as the Federal Office for Chemicals (Bundesstelle für Chemikalien, BfC).

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The BfC is the central point of contact for industry, policymakers, and other public bodies in Germany when it comes to questions about chemicals regulation. Its duties are anchored in German law by the Chemicals Act (Chemikaliengesetz), while the European framework for its work is laid down by the applicable EU regulations.

BAuA collaborates closely on chemicals regulation processes with the other federal institutions responsible for this field. They include the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, nukleare Sicherheit und Verbraucherschutz, BMUV), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, BfR), and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).

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Evaluate, regulate, authorise: the Federal Office for Chemicals performs diverse tasks relating to the regulation of chemicals and biocides, a domain strongly shaped by EU law. Issue 01/2024 of baua: Aktuell (German) gives insights into BAuA’s role and various duties overseeing the health and environmental protection aspects of the handling of hazardous substances.

The BfC summarises the overall position arrived at by the German authorities in the course of their evaluation processes and communicates it to international institutions – including the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission. In its capacity as the “occupational health and safety assessment office”, BAuA leverages its expertise in occupational safety and health to support the processes that are conducted.

One important building block in the BfC’s work is the REACH-CLP-Biocides Helpdesk, which provides advice through multiple channels, responding to inquiries, publishing brochures, and holding events. This allows it to offer a high degree of support to manufacturers, importers, and users of chemicals and biocidal products.

Major challenges will be thrown up over the next few years by the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, part of the European Commission’s Green Deal, and its implementation at the national and EU levels.

Tasks of BfC

The BfC's areas of responsibility include the regulation of industrial chemicals and the authorisation and assessment of biocidal products under the REACH, CLP and Biocidal Products Regulation. The Federal Office for Chemicals is responsible for reporting to the European Commission under the following procedures:

REACH-CLP-Biozid Helpdesk

Contact

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Information Centre
Postbox 17 02 02
D-44061 Dortmund
Germany

Phone: +49 231 9071-1971
Fax: +49 231 9071-2070

Contact form

Federal Office for Chemicals

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Division 5 "Federal Office for Chemicals"
Postbox 17 02 02
D-44061 Dortmund, Germany

Fax: +49 231 9071-2679

Contact form