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Notification of poisoning incidents

Germany has an excellent notification system for poisoning incidents. Under this system physicians notify any concrete or suspected cases of poisoning to the BfR Poison and Product Documentation Centre. The legal foundation for mandatory notification is § 16e of the Chemicals Act.

BfR provides information on the current poisoning situation in conjunction with the medical notifications of poisoning incidents. Manufacturers and distributors are, therefore, provided with information about health impairments caused by their products in a two-tier product information system (immediate notification in the event of severe health impairment and annual notifications in the case of less serious results).

Which poisoning incidents are reported?

The poisoning incidents notified to BfR involve health impairments caused by

  • chemical substances and products used in the home like detergents and cleaning agents, hobby items and DIY articles
  • cosmetics
  • pesticides
  • wood preservatives
  • chemicals used professionally
  • harmful chemical substances from the environment
  • toxic plants and animals

Who must notify?

Every physician who is asked to treat or assess the consequences of health disorders caused by chemical substances or products is obliged to submit the main details of the poisoning incident to the BfR Poison and Product Documentation Centre.

Cases of poisoning can either be notified using the BfR form for notifications of poisonings pursuant to § 16e Para 2 of the Chemicals Act or through anonymised physicians’ letters / results. Anonymised telephone and written notifications by post / fax or by email are also possible.

Address for the notification of poisonings

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
Poison and Product Documentation Centre
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin

Tel.: +49-30-18412-23201
Fax: +49-30-18412-23299
E-Mail: giftdok@bfr.bund.de

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