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Setting of Threshold Limit Values in Biological Material

Tasks of the Working Group

Biomonitoring refers to the identification of hazardous substances, their metabolites, their adducts with proteins and DNA and other parameters of intermediary metabolism in body fluids. In occupational medicine, biomonitoring is an effective way of protecting individuals against the effects of hazardous substances at the workplace (individual prevention); see Section XI of the List of MAK and BAT Values.

Biomonitoring can be used to record all conceivable exposure routes (oral, by inhalation, dermal) and to quantify the resulting total effect on the individual.

In Germany, biomonitoring is mainly carried out as part of preventive occupational health care. The Working Group on the Setting of Threshold Limit Values in Biological Material works in cooperation with the Working Group on the Analyses of Biological Materials to create the scientifically based prerequisites for carrying out biomonitoring. It contributes to the continuous improvement of biomonitoring by publishing scientific justifications from an occupational health/toxicological point of view, in German and English, for Biological Exposure Limits (BAT), Biological Reference Limits (BLW), Biological Substance Reference Values (BAR) and exposure equivalents for carcinogenic substances (EKA).

Since 1979, it has published justifications for more than 100 substances or groups of substances (see Section XII of the List of MAK and BAT Values), which are continually checked and updated according to the latest medical and scientific knowledge. Since 2012 they have also been available online.

In addition to cooperating with all other working groups of the commission, the working group is in close contact with national and international committees such as the EU's Scientific Committee for Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) [the work of SCOEL is being continued by the RAC (Risk Assessment Committee) of the ECHA following its dissolution in February 2019], the Biological Exposure Indices Committee (BEI) of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the Human Biomonitoring Commission of the Federal Environment Agency.