The toxicity of a large number of new and substitute substances is not known, or is disputed scientifically owing to the paucity of available data. At the same time, exposure to one and the same substitute product may vary considerably between different workplaces or different tasks. Assessment methods are therefore required as a basis for the hazard and risk assessment by which both the exposure and the effect of new and substitute substances can be assessed reliably.
The IPA develops quality-assured methods for monitoring the exposure and for studying the biological effects of substitute products. This particularly means identifying the routes of uptake prevailing at the workplace in order to perform a suitable hazard and risk assessment and avoid danger to the employees‘ health.
The focus of the studies lies upon studying substances serving as substitutes for carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic hazardous substances. The substitutes (which often possess a similar structure) are suitable owing to their application and product characteristics. Examples are substitutes for solvents, and phthalate plasticizers, presenting a threat to health. Research is also focused upon the ingredients of sunscreen creams, including substances that are used as UV filters or as skin anti-ageing agents. Finally, newly developed fragrances for cosmetic products and air-conditioning units are also studied. Owing to their ubiquity, these substances are particularly relevant for persons sensitive to them.
The results enable companies and workers alike to integrate prevention measures swiftly and effectively into industrial practice, and also to monitor these measures effectively. This particularly includes monitoring hygiene measures and the efficacy of personal protective equipment in order to reduce exposure to a minimum.