Joint project is progressing
Federal Environment Ministry and VCI are on the homestretch in human biomonitoring
Developing new methods for 50 substances to measure them in the human body ++ Methods development is finalised for one third of the chemicals ++ Work is ongoing on analytical methods for 22 substances.
Joint press release of:
The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) consistently work to realise their joint project in human biomonitoring. This project has been running since 2010, with the goal to develop new methods so that more chemicals than before can be measured in the human organism. The development of new detection methods for 50 relevant substances is to be launched by 2020. When including the substances from the present year 2018, already 43 chemicals have been selected for the project. It is worth noting that for 17 of these substances, the development of new detection methods is finalised. Currently, work is ongoing on 22 further methods. For just a few of the selected substances, the development of methods was not completed successfully due to analytical problems.
The development of methods for the preservatives 2-phenoxyethanol and bronopol starts in 2018. These substances are used, inter alia, in cosmetics, cleaning products and paints. Furthermore, methods are to be developed for homosalate (use in cosmetics for UV protection) and the fragrance rose oxide (a component e.g. in perfume oils for detergents and cleaning agents).
The cooperation between BMU and VCI focuses on chemicals for which no suitable measuring methods exist as yet but to which the general public is potentially exposed to an increasing degree or which can have a particular relevance to health.
The project is supported by a group of reputable experts from research, industry and public authorities. At the proposal of these experts, up to 5 substances are selected each year for which a detection method is to be developed for the first time.
The VCI has assumed responsibility for the development of the detection methods. The responsibility for applying these methods in suitable studies lies with the BMU which closely cooperates with the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in this respect. Suitable tests are carried out, for example, within the German Environmental Surveys on Health (GerES) and in the Environmental Specimen Bank of the federal administration. Publication in appropriate scientific journals makes the new methods available worldwide. The results from the studies on their application are published too.
The development of analytical methods is work and cost-intensive. The same holds true for their application, because reliable studies and the quality assurance of their results are expensive and time-consuming. However, if the thus developed methods can widen the range of instruments for human biomonitoring in the years to come, this will bring significant new findings about the real burden of major industrial chemicals on the public at large. So far, it is all too often necessary to resort to model assumptions where health risks can be easily over- or underestimated.
The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of around 1,700 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2017 the German chemical industry realised sales of more than 195 billion euros and employed around 453,000 staff.