Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New and Revised Limits Ensure Safety in the Workplace

07.08.2008
The Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) submitted the annual list of MAK and BAT Values to the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs at the beginning of July.

These constitute the set of recommendations for health protection in the workplace, proposed following careful scientific examination. 60 changes and additions to the current list are proposed, with its maximum concentrations of substances in the air that do not have an impact on health (MAK Values), and the concentration of a substance in the body that a human being can be exposed to over a lifetime without suffering damage to health (BAT Values).

For the first time, this year's recommendations also include the so-called Biological Substance Reference Values (Biologische Arbeitsstoff-Referenzwerte, BAR Values). These are not limits, but they define the "background exposure" of a substance in the body – as measurable in the blood, for example. It therefore refers to the exposure of adults of working age who are not exposed to the substance in the course of their work.

The comparison – for example during biomonitoring in factories – of this "background exposure" with the measured exposure at the workplace reveals whether, or to what extent, a person has absorbed a substance through their work. This is particularly important for carcinogenic substances, for which no limit has previously been derivable that protects against damaging effects with any certainty. The first BAR Values proposed by the Commission are for chromium and its inorganic compounds, materials known to be carcinogenic, as well as for trinitrotoluene – also known as the explosive TNT.

... more about:
»BAT »Health »MAK »carcinogen »carcinogenic

In contrast to the BAR Values, the objective of the MAK Values is to establish a scientifically grounded value that will definitely protect against the negative effects of particular substances. Even here, in many cases a comparison is involved – as in the case of isoprene, which this year has been given an MAK Value.

This is because the naturally occurring substance, even being produced in the human body, which as a component of many biomolecules in the body is very useful for natural substances such as rubber and for many aromatic compounds in industry, is known to be a carcinogen and is able to modify germ cells. Following a comparison with the so-called endogenous concentration however, i.e. that formed as part of the body's metabolism, the commission has established that at an MAK Value of 3 ml/m³ working with this substance does not increase the naturally occurring risk.

A good many other substances that the Senate Commission has investigated are ones that we meet in daily life, and not just in the workplace. This applies to titanium dioxide, used in sun creams, to aluminium, which has applications as a light material and in electrical engineering, or dimethyl sulphurous oxide, which is used as a solvent and an anti-freeze. Thus the scientists – they work for the commission on an honorary basis and are completely independent – considered for example titanium dioxide together with two other substances to be candidates for the category "carcinogenic, but when used subject to the MAK and BAT Values, make no contribution towards the risk of cancer".

Before these values can be established however, further studies are necessary. For six substances – including dimethyl sulphurous oxide – the list specifies MAK Values, and in a further four cases the new studies confirmed the known value following careful consideration.

Aluminium and nine other substances received a new BAT Value, which in some cases takes account of the modified definition from 2007. In last year's list, for the first time average values were given as BAT Values, instead of maximum values.

In addition to the values cited, the scientists also examined whether a workplace substance causes cancer, modifies germ cells and therefore jeopardises reproduction, whether it can damage the unborn baby during pregnancy, is absorbed via the skin or sensitises the skin or respiratory tract. For example the fungicide thiabendazol changes germ cells, but the MAK value of 20 mg/m³ protects against this effect. The carcinogenic material cobalt and its compounds, as well as methoxyacetic acid, octyl tin compounds and pyridine, assessed this year as a suspected carcinogen, were assigned the warning label "H" given to substances which can be absorbed in dangerous quantities, also via the skin. For eight other substances, this classification was reviewed and maintained.

As is the case every year, after the submission to the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, a time limit for objections applies to the current list. According to this, detailed written justifications for each assessed substance are requested to be sent to the Commission's Scientific Office by the end of the year, and any further new data and comments can be added, which are reviewed and taken into consideration where appropriate. Following this, the Senate Commission finally adopts the proposed values and their reasons as the basis for health and safety protection legislation in the workplace. Last year the Commission's Scientific Office received no comments on the new assessments.

Jutta Hoehn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.dfg.de

Further reports about: BAT Health MAK carcinogen carcinogenic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow
25.07.2017 | Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum für Experimentelle Biomedizin der Universität Würzburg

nachricht Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool
25.07.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>