Federal Ministry for the Environment and VCI continue successful cooperation in human biomonitoring
Further new detection methods for everyday chemicals in humans
Research into new measuring methods for further 5 substances ++ Work ongoing on 19 other detection methods ++ Development already completed of measuring methods for 16 industrial chemicals.
Joint press release of:
Possibilities for detecting chemicals in the human body are being improved continuously since 2010. The focus is on chemicals used in everyday products like e.g. flame retardants, polymer plasticizers, preservatives and fragrances. The methods needed in human biomonitoring (HBM) are developed within a joint project of the German Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) and the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), supported by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). Now the project programme is extended by another 5 substances.
Like every year, 5 important chemicals relevant to consumers were selected also in 2017. For the first time, measures are to be developed for detecting these chemicals in the human organism:
- The UV absorbers UV-P and UV 327 used in coatings and plastics,
- BADGE, one of the starting materials for food packaging coatings,
- 1H-benzotriazole, a substance in automatic dishwashing agents, and
- the feedstuff additive ethoxyquin.
The development of methods for these substances starts in 2017. All new methods undergo scientific validation. They are also published in reviewed scientific periodicals, so that they are available worldwide. The new detection methods are used, inter alia, in the testing of samples from the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) and in the German Environmental Surveys (GerES) of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
The project is supported by the HBM Commission – an independent expert body at the UBA – by developing so-called HBM values. These values enable a toxicological and health appraisal of the measured data.
The development of analytical methods is work- and cost-intensive, but these methods bring significant new findings regarding real burdens of major industrial chemicals on the public at large. So far, it was all too often resorted to model assumptions where health risks can easily be over- or underestimated.
Since 2010 the German ministry for the environment and the chemical industry association VCI have been cooperating in the development of new methods to measure chemicals in the human body. For the first time, analytical methods are to be developed by 2020 for up to 50 selected substances or substance groups. So far, already 16 detection methods have become newly available for industrial chemcials that were previously impossible to measure in the organism. The work is ongoing on further 19 methods. Every year the steering committee of the project selects up to 5 new substances for which methods development is launched.
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 2016 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 185 billion euros and employed over 447,000 staff.