Simple model for measurement and evaluation of the exposure to substance mixtures at the workplace

Project No. BGIA 1095


completed 01/2009


In the past, the evaluation of workplace exposure in Germany was generally limited to the few substances for which an occupational exposure limit value was specified in the technical regulations. However, the 2005 version of the German Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefstoffV) explicitly requires that consideration be given to all hazardous substances to which employees are exposed.

An attempt was therefore to be made to develop a pragmatic concept for the generation of exposure descriptions. This concept was to permit sound evaluation of the inhalative exposure to substances found in typical mixtures of working agents, including for discrete substances for which no atmospheric workplace limit value exists. A validated measurement method often does not exist for such discrete substances.


Together, all the parties to the project drew up a guide outlining a simple approach to the investigation and evaluation of exposure to substance mixtures at the workplace. The model proposed for estimation of the exposure to the substances for which no measurement method exists was checked analytically on a laboratory scale at the LAS, the regional OSH authority in Potsdam, against a sample substance mixture. The guide was also to include proposals for a health assessment of the substances contained in the mixture for which no workplace limit value exists.

In close liaison with all members of the project consortium, the institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the building trade used the joint guide to produce an initial description of exposure for primers and adhesives used for floor coverings. With reference to data from the literature, the BGIA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted the toxicological and occupational medical assessment of the hazardous substances contained in these products for which no occupational limit values exist (such as aminosilanes and certain organotin compounds).


Upon completion, the concept was presented in a journal to the interested public. It is based upon a mathematical method for estimation of exposure to substances for which measurement has not been performed, and upon a simplified approach for evaluation of exposure to substances for which no workplace limit value exists. The method may form a basis for the creation of risk assessments and also exposure scenarios such as those which must be delivered on a large scale in accordance with the REACH regulation. The description of exposure for primers and adhesives for floor coverings will be reviewed by the initiator in practical application and published at a later point in time.

Last Update:

2 Jun 2009


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaft der Bauwirtschaft
  • Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA)
  • BGIA - Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung
  • Landesamt für Arbeitsschutz, Potsdam
  • Hessisches Sozialministerium, Wiesbaden

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Gefahrstoffe, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren


Chemische Arbeitsstoffe, Gefährdungsbeurteilung, Grenzwert

Description, key words:

substance mixtures, working agents with no occupational exposure limit value, estimation of exposure, description of exposure