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Data collection "Chemicals and Contact Allergies" now online

05/2003, 07.03.2003

Joint Press Release of the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Many synthetically produced chemicals and ingredients in natural products can cause allergic contact eczema when they come into contact with the skin. In order to prevent or treat a contact allergy, knowledge is needed about the sensitising effect of the substances and preparations and the type of contact involved. The database "Chemicals and Contact Allergies" provides comprehensive information on this subject: 244 chemical substances were evaluated in respect of their potential to trigger contact allergies. The database is now freely accessible on the homepage of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and through the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI). It is intended as a work tool for general practitioners, for science, public authorities and industry. It aims to help to prevent contact allergies or to reduce their magnitude.

The data collection is available as a loose-leaf collection entitled "Chemicals and Contact Allergies - An Evaluative List" in bookstores. It was prepared with the support of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety in cooperation with universities, senior scientific bodies and the chemical industry in the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (up to 31 October 2002 the Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary Medicine). The 244 chemicals contained in the database were classified according to the strength of their contact allergenic potential. 98 substances were classified in category A "major contact allergens", 77 substances in category B "reasonable suspicion of contact allergenic effect". Category C encompasses 69 "less important contact allergens" or those with a "questionable contact allergenic effect".

The database is a factual database in German. It can be accessed free of charge from the BfR homepage www.bfr.bund.de (menu item Databases) or through DIMDI www.dimdi.de (Database Search - Search Access - Free Access). Anyone who prefers the paper form, can obtain the loose-leaf collection "Chemicals and Contact Allergies - An Evaluative List", editors Kayser, D. and E. Schlede (2001), from Urban & Vogel publishing house, ISBN 3-86094-163-1, at a cost of € 74.96.

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