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Nitrous gases and zinc in the crosshairs
Date:7/28/2009

The Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area established by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has issued the MAK and BAT Values List for 2009. This year's list contains 62 changes and new entries.

These include revised assessments of nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These gases are produced during combustion processes and thus occur in automobile emissions. Amongst other things, they cause acid rain. Oxides of nitrogen are used in the industrial production of nitrites. Purest nitrogen monoxide has many uses in medicine, including treating newborn babies with respiratory failure and as a test gas in calibrating measuring devices. The trace element zinc, which we ingest through our food, is a component of important enzymes. If inhaled, however, it can have toxic effects on the lungs, including a condition known as zinc fume fever. The element and its inorganic compounds formed the focus of the Commission's investigations, with new MAK values being defined for these substances. The results of the re-examination showed that the maximum concentration of zinc oxide fumes in the breathing air supply to which workers can be exposed without suffering adverse health effects is considerably lower than was previously stated.

As every year, the list was presented to the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs at the beginning of July. After thorough scientific testing, it will be used to make recommendations on occupational health. In addition to the MAK values, the list also shows the concentration of a substance in the body to which a person can be exposed during his or her working life without suffering any adverse health effects (BAT values). The Biological Guide Values and Biological Substance Reference Values (BLW or BAR values) are also included. Furthermore, the scientists and academics of the DFG Commission also investigated whether or not a
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Contact: Cornelia Pretzer
Cornelia.Pretzer@dfg.de
49-228-885-4320
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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