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New and revised limits ensure safety in the workplace
Date:8/6/2008

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.

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 comparis
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Contact: Dr. Eva-Maria Streier
em.streier@dfg.de
49-228-885-2250
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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