Cover: Documentations and Methods

Documentations and Methods

German Research Foundation (editor)

Peer Review

The Permanent Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (Ständige Senatskommission zur Prüfung gesundheitsschädlicher Arbeitsstoffe) publishes the results of its activities in the four serial publications MAK Value Documentations, Assessment Values in Biological Material, Air Monitoring Methods and Biomonitoring Methods. The publications are discussed intensively (in working groups and in the plenum) by 25 to 50 experts present at the meetings of the Commission and are released only under universal agreement. The completed evaluations of MAK and BAT Values and of the other classifications are made public on July 1st of every year in the List of MAK and BAT Values and on the homepage of the Commission at the DFG. This is followed by a six-month public consultation period. During this time, the manuscripts are made available on demand, and the scientific comments received are discussed within the Commission and taken into consideration before the final publication of the respective documentations. In addition, all the documents are made available to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA)) and Subcommittee III of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (Ausschuss für Gefahrstoffe (AGS)) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) during the period of public consultation, scientifically assessed and commented upon if desired. Changes made after public consultation are indicated in the subsequent List of MAK and BAT Values.

In the case of the Air Monitoring Methods and Biomonitoring Methods an extensive discussion and review process takes place within the expert groups. The methods described are first of all tested independently by another laboratory (method developers and testers) before publication. Furthermore, the method descriptions are critically evaluated and discussed at the meetings, also by participating guests who are not members of the Commission. Finally, the method descriptions are released for publication.

Conflict of interest

In view of the responsibility of the Commission, scientists are ad personam appointed members in their capacity as experts and not as representatives of the institutions or companies in which they work. Besides members, also Guests and Permanent Guests participate in the Commission’s work. Guests may be invited as scientific experts for specific questions and tasks, to support the Commission in their evaluations and decisions. As Permanent Guests, scientists and other experts are appointed with either advisory function, research assignments or official responsibilities within public authorities. As they belong to institutions potentially receiving the Commission’s advice they have no voting rights. In this way a possible conflict of interest should be excluded from the start. Before every consultation, all participants are requested to report potential conflicts of interest; any such are documented and evaluated, and consequences for the involvement of the participant in the discussion and voting process are established.

Ethical rules

The Permanent Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (Ständige Senatskommission zur Prüfung gesundheitsschädlicher Arbeitsstoffe) primarily uses data from publicly available studies for its work (published peer-reviewed in-vitro studies, animal experiments and studies in humans); in addition, the commission considers unpublished animal studies which conform with OECD guidelines, also from the industrial context if the complete study report is available. The Commission does not carry out such studies itself nor does it give any orders to carry them out.
Adherence to the prescribed legal and ethical standards with regard to animal experiments and volunteer studies has been checked in the context of research grants and/or in connection with the publication of the results. Adherence to the legal and ethical requirements also applies when collecting study results. If there are any doubts whether ethical standards were met, studies will not be included in the final evaluation.


Latest update: 13.05.2020