Information and Links

Substance abuse and addiction

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the HealthFinder, which promotes better health through education and awareness: Furthermore the AddictionResource raises awareness on the dangers of addiction, provides with valuable and verifiable information on substances abuse and addiction recovery, as well as directs to the different sources of help and supports the better well-being and self-improvement: Another helpful web resource that provides information and support to people fighting substance abuse and addiction is It is provided by Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS), which is an integrated behavioral health care management organization dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health issues (

Simplified labelling of laboratory containers

The DGUV has developed a simplified system for storage bottles in laboratories, taking into account the new labelling system in line with the CLP regulation:

The BG RCI-Expertise Portal:
With Information about

The German REACH-CLP-Biozid Helpdesk in English language:
With Information about

Documentation of the international expert meeting "Sound Acoustics for Employees, SAFE" on non-auditory effects of noise at work on 04./05.11.2015:

BAuA Topics from A to Z:
With Information about

New labels for chemical products - do you know what they mean?

European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures came into force on 20 January 2009 in all EU Member States, including the UK. It is known by its abbreviated form, 'the CLP Regulation' or just plain 'CLP'. The CLP Regulation adopts the United Nations' Globally Harmonised System on the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) across all European Union countries, including the UK.

With a new pocket card reminder of the new CLP label pictograms you can make sure that you can always understand the label. The GHS/CLP Memocard includes all the new CLP pictograms, together with simple, concise information and advice. Sized to fit easily in your pocket or your wallet, ready for whenever you need it.

The English cards are available in the UK from:

These cards are also available in German from:

Information in Hungarian can be found at:

List of MAK and BAT Values 2015: Maximum Concentrations and Biological Tolerance Values at the Workplace

The New List of MAK and BAT Values (English Version) is online (published online on November 16, 2015):

Further new or revised documents of the MAK value documentation series are now available in Open Access:

List of MAK and BAT Values 2014: Maximum Concentrations and Biological Tolerance Values at the Workplace

MAK values (Maximum Concentrations at the Workplace) and BAT values (Biological Tolerance Values) promote the protection of health at the workplace. They are an efficient indicator for the toxic potential of chemical compounds. The German List of MAK and BAT Values 2014 contains a list of scientifically recommended threshold limit values for more than 1000 chemical compounds. Carcinogens, germ cell mutagens, embryotoxicants, sensitizing substances and those potentially bearing a risk to pregnancy are treated separately. Of particular value are the lists of substances which were reviewed in the past 12 months, including substances being examined for the establishment of MAK and BAT values in coming years.

For the English List of MAK and BAT Values 2014, which was published online on August 22, 2014, you follow the link for the single chapters
or for the whole list

The MAK-Collection for Occupational Health and Safety

Comprehensive, authoritative.
The nearly 3,000 publications by the Permanent Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (German MAK-Commission) provide essential information on hazardous compounds at the workplace. Threshold values and classifications for more than 1,000 substances are given, along with toxicological evaluations and recommended monitoring methods. The MAK-Collection is regularly updated with new information.
Free use for everyone, everywhere.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) supports global open access to the online editions of the complete publications of the MAK Commission in English and in German language on Wiley Online Library, including all future updates and additions.
The MAK-Collection combines four individual series in two languages The online edition of the MAK-Collection includes the publications of four serial publications in two languages, English and German:

  1. MAK Value Documentations / Gesundheitsschädliche Arbeitsstoffe. Toxikologisch-arbeitsmedizinische Begründungen von MAK-Werten und Einstufungen
  2. BAT Value Documentations / Biologische Arbeitsstoff-Toleranz-Werte, Expositionsäquivalente für krebserzeugende Arbeitsstoffe, Biologische Leitwerte und Biologische Arbeitsstoff-Referenzwerte. Arbeitsmedizinisch-toxikologische Begründungen
  3. Air Monitoring Methods / Analytische Methoden zur Prüfung gesundheitsschädlicher Arbeitsstoffe. Luftanalysen
  4. Biomonitoring Methods / Analytische Methoden zur Prüfung gesundheitsschädlicher Arbeitsstoffe. Analysen in biologischem Material

All substance-specific documents can be browsed via the substance name. Substance names include metabolites where appropriate and are grouped by series and by language. Within each category, documents are listed in chronological order. For easier reference, series name and publication year are included in the title, e. g. Acetone [MAK Value Documentation, 1996]. Where applicable, a Substance Overview document is provided that contains a summary of important substance parameters, including toxicological classifications and threshold values set by the commission. Publications on general topics and supporting information can be found under the headings General Information and Supplementary Information. A versatile product search aids retrieval of the information. Substance names in English or German, including synonyms, and CAS numbers may all be used to locate articles of interest. Articles which are relevant for more than one substance include a link list to other relevant substances at the bottom of the article. In addition to the html documents for online viewing, printable pdf documents in the same layout as in the printed editions are available for all articles.
For the MAK-Documentations in alphabetical order please follow the link

GESTIS-database on hazardous substances Information system on hazardous substances of the German Social Accident Insurance

The GESTIS-Substance Database contains information for the safe handling of hazardous substances and other chemical substances at work, e.g. health effects, necessary protective measures and such in case of danger (incl. First Aid). Furthermore the user is offered information upon important physical and chemical properties as well as special regulations e.g. GHS classification and labelling according to CLP regulation (pictograms, H phrases, P phrases) and according to the old system (hazard symbols, R phrases). The available information relates to about 8,500 substances. Data are updated immediately after publication of new official regulations or after the issue of new scientific results.

Mobile version
A mobile version of the GESTIS substance database, suitable for smartphones and tablets, is also available at In addition, apps for Apple and Android devices are available for download in the App Store and Play Store respectively.

The GESTIS-Substance Database is maintained by the Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA, Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance). The GESTIS database information on occupational medicine and first aid is compiled by Prof. Dr. Heberer and his team (TOXICHEM, Leuna).

Use and Liability
The information may be used for the purpose of workers' protection, or to gain knowledge about risks emanating from chemical substances. Commercial use as well as a partial or complete transfer to other information systems is not permitted. There are no objections against citing of data to a limited extent giving the source "GESTIS - substance database". The data of GESTIS database are compiled and updated carefully. Nevertheless, any liability is excluded.

Structure of the GESTIS - Substance database Identification (Name and synonyms, Identification numbers, Substance characterisation, Formula)

Toxicology/Ecotoxicology (Toxicological Data, Ecotoxicological Data)

Physical and chemical properties (Basic data (melting point, boiling point, density, vapour pressure), Burn- und explosion data (flash point, ignition temperature, explosion limits), Solubility behaviour (solubility in water, pH-value, partition coefficient), Hazardous reactions (decomposition temperature, decompositon products, hazardous chemical reactions)

Occupational health and first aid (Routes of exposure, Toxic effects, First aid)

Handling and usage (Usage, Technical measures (Handling, Storage, Fire and explosion protection), Organisational measures, Personal protection (Body protection, Respiratory protection, Eye protection, Hand protection, Skin protection, Industrial hygiene), Disposal considerations, Accidental release measures, Fire fighting measures)

Regulations (GHS-Classification according to regulation (EC) 1272/2008 or by manufacturer, Classification according to Directive 67/548/EEC or by manufacturer, Workplace labelling, German water pollution class, Technical instruction of air pollution prevention (TA Luft), German threshold limit values (TRGS 900), TRGS 905 Classification of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and reproductive toxicity, Recommendations of MAKCommission, German biological exposure indices (BAT), German ordinance of failure, Further regulations)

GESTIS - International limit values for chemical agents

Occupational exposure limits (OELs)ür-chemische-Substanzen-limit-values-for-chemical-agents/index-2.jsp

Available as app for iPhone, iPodtouch, iPad and now also as app for Android
This database contains a collection of occupational limit values for hazardous substances gathered from various EU member states, Australia, Canada (Ontario and Québec), Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States as of August 2013. Limit values of more than 1,700 substances are listed. The chemical names of the substances were adopted from the nomenclature as used in the original sources for national limit values. Thus, for retrieval of substances, the use of CAS numbers is strongly recommended. For synonyms of the chemical names given, please refer to e. g. GESTIS substance database.


Hazardous substance information system of the German Social Accident Insurance
For the registration of each substance under the European chemicals regulation REACH, manufacturers or importers have to quote assessment benchmarks on which the protective measures are based. Among these assessment yardsticks are Derived No-Effect Levels (DNELs). The REACH regulation defines them as exposure levels beneath which a substance does not harm human health.

The key element of the GESTIS DNEL database is the DNEL list of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV). This list is based on a compilation conducted by the social accident insurance institution for the construction industry which makes available workplace-related DNELs that have been established by manufacturers and importers on their own responsibility and are published in this form by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

The DGUV DNEL list currently contains DNELs for workers (local and/or systemic effects during longterm inhalation exposure) for roughly 3,250 substances. If different DNELs are published for a single substance, they are presented side-by-side. Carcinogens are specially marked. For substances that are readily amenable to chemical characterisation, important aids to identification (synonyms, index numbers and formulae) are additionally provided on a separate datasheet. If there is also a workplace limit value that is binding in Germany, this is given in the datasheet. A link is provided to further substance-specific data of the GESTIS substance database.

The DGUV list also includes DNELs for complex substance groups, resins, fats, reaction mixtures and other imprecisely defined substance entries. Detailed information on the DNELs and Explanations on the GESTIS DNEL database at link above.

GESTIS - Scientific Criteria Documentsündungen/index-2.jsp
(In German Language only)

In Germany, scientific criteria documents for the level of national workplace limit values and the body of data according to which hazardous substances are classified are not collected and published centrally. Instead, the relevant texts are to be found in a variety of loose-leaf collections, series of publications, or on the Internet. The GESTIS database of scientific criteria documents provides bibliographical information and links to the sources explaining the reasoning for the derivation of substance-specific atmospheric limit values and the classification of working agents as "carcinogenic", "mutagenic", "reprotoxic" or "sensitising". The database is not limited to substances which are currently classified in the Federal Republic of Germany or for which a workplace limit value currently exists; it extends to all substances the atmospheric limit values of which have been 11 removed from the body of German regulations since 2005 in the wake of revision of the regulation governing hazardous substances. The reasons for abolition of the atmospheric limit values concerned are stated.

Finally, the GESTIS database of scientific criteria documents provides references to other overview documents, primarily in German, which contain comprehensive information on toxicology and occupational medicine with regard to the relevant substances.

The GESTIS database of scientific criteria documents is produced and maintained by the Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Geszlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA, Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance).

Guidelines for Laboratories Working safely in Laboratories - Basic Principles and Guidelines

"Working Safely in Laboratories - Basic Principles and Guidelines" is a new and updated version of the "Guidelines for Laboratories" that have been established for decades. The publication incorporates the German health and safety regulations for laboratories updated by the Fachausschuss Chemie. The "Guidelines for Laboratories" (BGR/GUV-R 120) have been tried and tested in daily practice for many years. They were elaborated in the Arbeitskreis Laboratorien (working group on laboratories) of the Fachausschuss Chemie (expert committee for the chemical industry) within the DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance), in consultation with the AGS (German Committee for Hazardous Substances). In 2000 parts of the guidelines have been adopted into state legislation by the AGS as technical rules and regulations in the form of TRGS 526 "Laboratorien". Updates are in the responsibility of the Arbeitskreis Laboratorien. BGI/GUV-I 850-0e takes into account the current status of laboratory technology, new discoveries from day-to-day laboratory practice and changes to the regulatory landscape, in particular the amended German ordinance on hazardous substances, the Gefahrstoffverordnung (GefStoffV). BGI/GUV-I 850-0e is aimed at constructors and operators of laboratories. Laboratory personnel and guestscientists can inform themselves in English about the German standards on health and safety practices in laboratories. In addition it is a useful reference book of the German regulations on safety and health in case of an audit with Englishspeaking auditors.

The draft of the updated laboratory guidelines was presented to the members of the Fachausschuss Chemie and especially to the concerned chemical industry for comments. The working group discussed the comments received and the result was considered in consultation with the DGUV’s health and safety department. The document thus represents a consensus of expert opinion and describes the generally accepted state of the art. Online-access to BGI/GUV-I 850-0e is offered

Treatment of chemical burns

We had a vibrant discussion amongst us colleagues on the most appropriate treatment of chemical burns in our MEDICHEM Newsletter 11/2003 (page 7-8) and 03/2004 (page 6-8). The discussion came up again between Murray Coombs, Michael Nasterlack and me. The following link gives you access to the Guideline "Requirements regarding rinsing fluids for first aid" of the BG RCI of June 2013:
The conclusion is the same as Michael Nasterlack already stated in a former MEDICHEM Newsletter and is as follows: “Experience gained in practical operation confirm the efficiency of rinsing with water if the victim and the first person helping have been instructed sufficiently and the rinsing is carried out without delay. The crucial prognosis factor for an accident victim is thus less the selection of the rinsing fluid, but immediate, efficient rinsing, for a sufficient length of time with sufficient volumes of fluid! It must be ensured that there is a continuous availability of the fluid at all times; a loss of time before rinsing is begun must be avoided under all circumstances. Rinsing fluids or solutions packed in other packages can be used
- in addition to available eye wash stations or emergency showers,
- when no drinking water, or water of comparable quality is available, or
- when special decontamination preparations are required
(e. g. for the decontamination of the skin when suffering from carbolic acid burns). Rinsing must be performed immediately. The procurement of a specific rinsing fluid is not allowed to not delay the start of immediate rinsing. Prompt rinsing of the eyes, skin or mucous membranes is decisive for the immediate dilution or removal of caustic or poisonous substances to keep physical damage as low as possible.”

Risk assessment of work-related psychological stress with the help of brainstorming meetings

This brochure of the DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) of May 2014 gives tips to stay healthy and fit in a small company and how brainstorming meetings can help.

2014 Study Update of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) AHS Finds Link between Use of Certain

Insecticides and Aggressive Prostate Cancer
The AHS is the largest study of agricultural exposures and health in the United States. Other than certain skin cancers, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. Farmers are more likely than other men to develop prostate cancer. In 2003, AHS researchers reported an association between some pesticides and prostate cancer among those with a family history of prostate cancer.

In 2013 they completed an analysis of 2,000 men in the study who have developed prostate cancer. While they found some evidence of an association between some pesticides and prostate cancer overall, the strongest evidence was for a link between a few specific insecticides and a subtype of prostate cancer that is fast-growing or aggressive.

This finding was based on information from AHS participants who answered questions about their lifetime use of 50 different pesticides when they enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1997 and then again 5 years later. Dr. Stella Koutros of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and her colleagues found that frequent users of the insecticides malathion and terbufos were more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, compared with participants who didn’t use either insecticide. Fonofos and aldrin, insecticides that are no longer registered for use in the U.S., were also associated with an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. This new work is important because it included a large number of men with prostate cancer and it was possible to focus specifically on aggressive prostate cancer, a more clinically significant form of the disease.

Overall Use of Pesticides not Linked to Depressions among Farmer's Wives; Pesticide Poisoning May Increase Risk

In the United States, about 20% of women have been diagnosed with depression, compared to about 11% of men. Some studies, including the AHS, have shown a link between pesticide use and depression in men. But information on the risk for women was limited. John Beard, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his colleagues have now completed the first follow-up study of women’s pesticide exposure and risk of depression.

The investigators looked at data from almost 17,000 wives of farmers and pesticide applicators in the AHS. None of the women had depression when the study began. The women reported information on their exposure to 50 different pesticides. More than 1,000 women were diagnosed with depression during 12 years of follow-up.

The researchers found that women who used pesticides, or whose husbands used pesticides, did not have a greater risk of developing depression than the other women. However, the few women in the study who had been diagnosed by a physician with pesticide poisoning were nearly twice as likely to develop depression compared to women who had never been diagnosed with pesticide poisoning. The researchers controlled for other factors that have been linked to depression, such as having a chronic disease. “We do not yet fully understand how pesticides may affect the risk for depression. However, we do know how to decrease the likelihood of pesticide poisoning. When working with pesticides, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s label instructions and use good work hygiene and personal protective equipment when needed.” the researchers said.

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