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Evaluation of Components of Metalworking Fluids

Tasks of the Working Group

Exposure to metalworking fluids (defined as lubricants in liquid form) represents a special case from an occupational health/toxicological point of view owing to the use of a complex mixture of components, aerosolisation and the frequently unavoidable direct skin contact. The Commission has been concerned with this issue since 1982 and it is addressed in section Xc of the List of MAK and BAT Values.

In 1987 the ad hoc working group “Evaluation of metalworking components” was founded, which was given the status of a working group in 1993. The group consists of dermatologists, toxicologists and occupational physicians.

The first list of components commonly used in metalworking fluids was published in 1983 and regularly updated. A comprehensive list that now includes components of greases and hydraulic fluids will again be published in the "Toxikologisch-arbeitsmedizinischen Begründungen von MAK-Werten" in 2014 and will be updated should new findings come to light. So far the working group has evaluated over 120 substances.

The working group is in contact with the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, manufacturers and users of metalworking fluids, the Verband der Schmierstoffindustrie (VSI, Association of German Lubricant Producers), the Verbraucherkreis Industrieschmierstoffe (VKIS, Association of Industrial Lubricant Consumers), the German Social Accident Insurance Institution and researchers.