Principles of handling Nanomaterials at BAuA

As a departmental research institution, BAuA plays a key role in designing a safe and healthy working environment. One of its aims is to study the impacts of new technologies on health and to improve protection.

Therefore, within the scope of the Research and Development Programme 2010-2013, BAuA established a "Nanomaterials" research focus containing the fields of activity "Workplace exposures during activities involving nanomaterials" and "Toxicological risk characterisation". Additionally, BAuA is developing accompanying "Contributions to the precautionary care strategy for nanomaterials".

In the projects aimed at identifying exposure to substances in the workplace, BAuA develops portable measuring instruments and conducts measurements in workplaces and research institutions. The laboratories at BAuA's Berlin location use commercially available nanomaterials (especially carbon nanotubes, CNTs) on a small scale for laboratory measurements. The projects aimed at characterising toxicological risks centre around the awarding of research contracts with a current value of approx. €300,000 per annum to external partners

For work involving nanomaterials within the scope of these activities, BAuA is committed to adhering to the principles of the NanoKommission in addition to the statutory requirements. BAuA also commits those conducting research on its behalf to obeying these principles. With this publication, BAuA satisfies the requirement for transparency.

Research is planned via a process involving several steps, with all projects being approved by an interdisciplinary group leadership committee and then by BAuA's research and development council before BAuA's management team decides on them. An external evaluation is conducted by the Scientific Advisory Board.

In its own work involving nanomaterials, BAuA uses closed systems in order to rule out exposure in accordance with the principle of prevention. In addition, there are regulations covering general hygiene measures that considerably reduce exposure even in the case of incidents. Furthermore, any specific instructions issued by the manufacturers of the nanomaterials are implemented.

The results of BAuA projects and other obtained findings are communicated to all stakeholders through internal and external seminars, workshops and talks, through participation in conferences and meetings, and through BAuA's own publications and website. Where necessary, BAuA actively informs its partners of relevant new findings. This applies in particular to the technical policy advice provided to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).

The NanoKommission's five principles for the responsible use of nanomaterials

  • 1st principle: Definition and disclosure of responsibility and management (good governance)
  • 2nd principle: Transparency with regard to nanotechnology-related information, data and processes
  • 3rd principle: Commitment to dialogues with stakeholders
  • 4th principle: Establishment of risk management structures
  • 5th principle: Responsibility within the value chain