Die Umweltprobenbank des Bundes
Schröter-Kermani, Christa; Gies, Andreas; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike
Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz (2016), 1-5; first online: 11 January 2016
The German Environmental Specimen Bank
The main objective of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) is the long-term storage of environmental and human samples under stable deep-freeze conditions for future research. The ESB is unique in providing a continuous historical record of environmental and human exposure to chemicals in Germany. ESB was started parallel to the development of the first German Chemicals Legislation in the late 1970s. In 1979, the ESB test operation began. After the Chemicals Law came into force in 1982, the ESB was established as a permanent facility in 1985. With the new European Chemicals Legislation, REACH, in 2007 responsibility for the safety of commercial chemicals and risk assessment was assigned to the industry. Since then, the ESB has become even more important in verifying the self-assessment of the industry, in evaluating the effectiveness of regulations, thus ensuring the protection of humans and the environment against adverse effects caused by exposure to chemicals. These objectives are pursued by the regular monitoring of contaminations and the assessment of temporal trends. Demonstrating the necessity of deriving exposure reduction measures, ESB results serve as key information for policy-makers. Information on preventing exposure to chemicals is available to the general public and to the public health services. The ESB is thus an important monitoring instrument of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The Federal Environment Agency operates the ESB based on its own concepts, heads the scientific data evaluation and transfers results into the environmental policy arena and to the general public.