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Unit Poisoning and Product Documentation

The Unit receives notifications of formulations of chemical products (hazardous mixtures) and notifications of poisoning incidents from physicians. The statutory foundations for this are the CLP Regulation of the European Union (BfR is the Appointed Body according to EU No. 1272/2008, Art. 45), the German Chemicals Act (Section 16e ChemG), and the German Detergents and Cleaning Agents Act (Section10 WRMG).

Downstream users (manufacturers, distributors, importers) of chemical products classified as hazardous as well as biocides, detergents or cleaning agents submit information on formulations and other product information to the BfR for the assessment of health impairment risks. BfR reviews this information and regularly passes it on to the eight German poison information centres to support them in their medical advisory activities.

Physicians report poisoning cases or cases of suspected poisoning in anonymised form (Section 16e ChemG, Para. 2). Furthermore poisons centres in Germany report cases of poisoning of high toxicological significance to the BfR (Section 16e Para. 3 ChemG). Thus, the BfR is supplied with valuable toxicological human data on a broad range of products and exposures in the home, hobby, work place and environmental areas.

Similar to the recording of adverse drug reactions, the Unit has set up an information system in 1998 to record adverse health reactions caused by chemical products. In cases involving severe health disorders (in particular in the case of use for intended purpose or foreseeable non intended use), ministries, manufacturers, distributors and industrial associations are informed by means of immediate notification. Manufacturers and distributors receive annual summary information about other health disorders. In this way the BfR supports responsible care by manufacturers/distributors and contributes to improving product safety.

Rare intoxications, intoxications with a life-threatening course or with unexpectedly low manifestation of symptoms are scientifically evaluated and described and registered in a bilingual human case database (German/English) accessible by poisoning experts. The findings are also regularly published as annual reports with analyses on poisoning frequency, casuistic and other toxicological topics (from 2004 in English, too). Other publications of the Unit include brochures (e.g. poisonous plants, poisonous mushrooms), press releases and reports on research projects or special human toxicological issues.

Main areas of activity:

  • Processing formulation notifications for chemical products, biocides, detergents and cleaning agents and passing on to German poisons centres
  • Processing and evaluation of poisoning notifications by physicians
  • Provision of information to federal ministries on poisoning risks
  • Provision of information to companies and associations on notified health impairments caused by their chemical products
  • Maintenance of the product and case databases
  • Management of the BfR Committee for Assessment of Intoxications
  • Preparation of publications and brochures
  • Representation of the BfR on national and international bodies


Other documents

Date Title Size
Print Version
Organisation Chart of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment 97.4 KB


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