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Unit Safety of Consumer Products

Unit 73 carries out toxicological assessments of substances in order to identify and prevent health risks arising from the use of consumer articles, cosmetics and tobacco products, as well as other consumer products. Consumer articles include for instance food contact materials and objects, cosmetics packaging, body care products, toys and joke devices, clothing, bed linen, masks, wigs, bracelets, cleaning products, impregnating agents and air fresheners.

The health risk is assessed on the basis of exposure to ingredients in the products and the available toxicological data. Options for action are identified on the basis of the assessment carried out.

During the assessment data on genotoxic, acute and chronic toxic effects, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity are examined as well as data on local effects like skin and mucosal irritation or sensitisation. Furthermore, findings on the metabolism and toxicokinetics including a possible accumulation of the substances concerned in the human body are taken into account.

The health assessments are carried out on the basis of various national and European regulations. The most important national ordinances are the Consumer Articles Ordinance, the Cosmetics Ordinance and the Tobacco Ordinance.

The staff of Unit 73 is involved in the work of various national and international panels such as the Commission for Consumer Articles and its committees on Toxicology, Paper and Textiles and Leather, the Cosmetics Commission, various working groups (e.g. “Working Group Consumer Articles in Contact with Drinking Water”, “Working Group Textiles”), in the EFSA working group “Food Contact Materials”, international standardisation committees for toys and the Committee of Experts on Cosmetic Products of the Council of Europe”.


Head of Unit

PD Dr. Ralph Pirow


Visitors' address
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin

Postal address
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin



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