GIZ-Nord » about toxicology in Germany » Toxicology in Germany

Information resources and institutions related to toxicology in Germany or in German language (Herbert Desel, Regine Kahl 2009-11-16).
Latest update: 2017-08-02 (except books)


Toxicology as a scientific discipline in Germany has developed in academia as a part of pharmacology. Even today, the state-controlled curricula for students of medicine and pharmacy contain pharmacology and toxicology as one common subject. In the last decades of the 20th century an increasing number of toxicologists became members of the DGPT, the society of pharmacologists and toxicologists. DGPT was originally founded as society of pharmacologists in 1920 (see below).

As toxicology in Germany has developed even further, a scientific society of toxicologists (Gesellschaft für Toxikologie, GT), to some degree still associated to the DGPT, was founded in 2003. The vision of GT is to develop toxicological science and education and to be the leading contact point for toxicology in Germany.



General Monographs

Marquardt H, Schäfer S (eds). 2004. Lehrbuch der Toxikologie (Textbook of Toxicology). 2nd ed.
Stuttgart: WVG (ISBN: 3-8047-1777-2)

Comprehensive multiauthor textbook covering most aspects of toxicology on 1348 pages. Contains sections on general toxicology, organ toxicology, the most important groups of toxic substances, specific fields of toxicology, toxicological methodology and risk assessment.

Wolf HU (ed). 1992. Hagers Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, Band 3: Gifte (Hager's Textbook of Pharmaceutical Practice, Vol.3: Poisons), 5th ed.,
Berlin Heidelberg New York. Springer (ISBN: 3-540-52633-1)

Data on the properties, signs and therapy of intoxication, and regulation of toxic substances listed in alphabetical order and comprising both generic names and product trade names are given in a condensed form.
Student Textbooks

Textbooks on toxicology

Dekant W, Vamvakas S. 2005. Toxikologie - Eine Einführung für Chemiker, Biologen und Pharmazeuten (Toxicology - Introduction for Chemists, Biologists and Pharmacists). 2nd ed.
Heidelberg: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag (ISBN: 3-8274-1452-0)

Eisenbrand G, Metzler M, Hennecke FJ. 2005. Toxikologie. Für Naturwissenschaftler und Mediziner (Toxicology for Natural Scientists and Physicians). 3rd ed.
Weinheim: Wiley VCH (ISBN: 3-527-30989-6)

Two textbooks mainly designed for students of chemistry and biology and in part also for students of medicine. The focus is on general toxicology, on toxicological mechanisms, on German law regulating treatment of hazardous substances and less amply on the actions of specific compounds. In addition, basic anatomical and pathophysiological information is provided.

Textbooks on Pharmacology and Toxicology

Aktories K, Förstermann U, Hofmann F, Starke K, eds. 2009. Allgemeine und spezielle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie. Begründet von W. Forth, D. Hentschler, W. Rummel (Forth, Hentschler & Rummel's General and Special Pharmacology and Toxicology). 10th ed.
München, Jena: Urban & Fischer (ISBN: 3-4374-2522-6)

A comprehensive general textbook covering the theoretical basis as well as the clinical aspects of pharmacology, with an extensive chapter on toxicology. Each chapter was written by an expert and starts with the pathophysiological basis.

Mutschler E, Geisslinger G, Kroemer HK, Ruth P, Schäfer-Korting M. 2005. Mutschler Arzneimittelwirkungen kompakt. Basiswissen Pharmakologie und Toxikologie (Effects of Drugs - Compact. Basic Knowledge of Pharmacology and Toxicology).
Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft (ISBN: 3-8047-2214-8)

General textbook for students of medicine, pharmacy, and the life sciences contains three major sections (general pharmacology, special pharmacology, toxicology). For the nonmedical reader, a brief introduction to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology precedes each chapter. 

Schmidt H. ed. 2007. Pharmakologie und Toxikologie. Begründet von C. J. Estler (Estler's Pharmacology and Toxicology). 6th ed.
Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag (ISBN: 3-7945-2295-8)

A multiauthor book with 22 chapters, one of which covers toxicology in a brief but systematic manner.

Lüllmann H, Mohr K, Hein L. 2010. Pharmakologie und Toxikologie (Pharmacology and Toxicology). 17th ed.
Stuttgart: Thieme (ISBN 3-1336-8517-1)

Oberdisse E, Hackenthal E, Kuschinsky K (ed.). 2001. Pharmakologie und Toxikologie (Pharmacology and Toxicology). 3rd ed.
Berlin: Springer (ISBN 3-540-41993-4) - out of print, only second hand

Two further popular textbooks addressed to medical students with main focus on pharmacology

Analytical and Medical Toxicology

von Mühlendahl KE, Oberdisse U, Bunjes R.: Vergiftungen im Kindesalter (Intoxications in Childhood) 4th ed.
Stuttgart: Thieme, 2003 (ISBN: 3-13-129814-6)

Experience of more than twenty years of poisons information are processed in this standard book for diagnosis and treatment of intoxications. The main focus is on intoxications in childhood, but useful hints for intoxications in adults are also included for many toxic agents.

Ludewig R. 1999. Akute Vergiftungen (Acute Intoxications). 9th ed.
Stuttgart : WDG (ISBN: 3-8047-1701-2)

A valuable guide for the clinical management of intoxications, comprehensive index to many uncommon substances and products. Substances are grouped by chemical or application aspects. Each entry comprises toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic data and the symptoms and therapy of intoxication.

Schaefer C, Spielmann H, Vetter K. Arzneiverordnung in Schwangerschaft und Stillzeit (Drugs in Pregancy and Lactation), 7th ed.
Stuttgart: Urban und Fischer, 2006 By far most important monograph on teratogenic effects in German language. Frequently updated, based on authors’ long consulting experience and research in the field.

Wirth W, Gloxhuber C Toxikologie (Toxicology). 5th ed.
Stuttgart: Thieme, 1994 (ISBN: 3-13-421105-X)

Althougth already older than ten years, this is still an important textbook on medical toxicology. Following a shorter section on general toxicology, the main section is divided into the toxicology (chemistry, exposure, symptoms and mechanisms of acute and chronic intoxication, and therapy) of inorganic compounds, organic compounds, plant poisons, and animals poisons

Pfleger K, Maurer H, Weber A Mass Spectral and GC Data of Drugs, Poisons, Pesticides, Pollutants and Their Metabolites I/ II/ III/IV.
Weinheim VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 2000 (ISBN: 3-527-26989-4)

Reference to mass spectra of more than 4000 substances, most of them important for toxicological analyses in cases of intoxications.

Environmental Toxicology and Biotoxins

Lindner E 1990. Toxikologie der Nahrungsmittel (Toxicology of Food). 4 th ed.
Stuttgart: Thieme (ISBN: 3 13-490804-2).

A book about the toxic substances in food which are either constitutive or formed during storage or preparation, as well as about food additives.

Merian E, Anke M Ihnat M, Stoeppler M. ed. 2004. Elements and their Compounds in the Environment. 2nd ed.
Weinheim:VCH (ISBN 3-527-30459-2).

Formerly title "Metals and their Compounds in the Environment" (German and English versions). This is the standard reference monograph on many aspects of environmental and toxicological chemistry. Each chapter is dealing with a specific element and written by an international expert.

Mebs D. 2002. Venomous and Poisonous Animals. A Handbook for Biologists, Toxicologists and Toxinologists, Physicians and Pharmacists
Stuttgart. medpharm / WVG (ISBN 3-88763-093-9)
German version: Mebs D. 2000. Gifttiere. Ein Handbuch für Biologen, Toxikologen, Ärzte und Apotheker. 2nd ed.
Stuttgart: WVG (ISBN 3-8047-1639-3)

In this comprehensive handbook many poisonous animals are presented with photographs, and the toxins as well as the symptoms and therapy of the intoxication are described.

Junghanss T, Bodio M. 1996. Notfall-Handbuch Gifttiere (Emergency Handbook Venonous and Poisonous Animals)
Stuttgart: Thieme (ISBN 3-13-100441-X)

This valuable handbook is a collection of very detailed and comprehensive data on poisonings caused by exotic animals from the whole world. Designed for the use in specialized treatment centres and poisons centres.

Frohne D, Pfänder HJ. 2005. Giftpflanzen. (Poisonous Plants), 5th ed.
Stuttgart: WVG (ISBN: 3-8047-2060-9)

In this handbook many plants with toxic ingredients are presented with photographs and comprehensive description of their basic and clinical toxicology.

Bresinsky A, Besl H. 1985. Giftpilze (Poisonous Fungi)
Stuttgart. WVG (ISBN 3-8047-0680-0)

This monograph contains short information on intoxication syndromes and more detailed information on the identification of poisonous fungi.

Teuscher E, Lindequist U. 1994. Biogene Gifte (Poisons from Biological Sources) 2nd ed.,
Stuttgart: Fischer (ISBN: 3-437-30747-9)

This book presents on 681 pages the biology, chemistry, and toxicology of toxins from all types of biological organisms. A lot of colour pictures and chemical structures are presented.

Wichmann HE, Schlipköter H-W, Fülgraff G. 2006. Handbuch der Umweltmedizin. Toxikologie - Epidemiologie - Hygiene - Belastungen - Wirkungen - Diagnostik - Prophylaxe. (Handbook of Environmental Medicine)
Landsberg. ecomed (loose leaflet book, ISBN 978-3-609-71180-5)

Environmental toxicology is an important field in environmental medicine. Among many other data this book contains toxicological reviews on substances being present in the environment. The loose leaflet book is continuously updates and provides chapters on ozone, sulfur dioxide, passive smoking, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a number of metals, benzene, formaldehyde, pentachlorphenol, polychlorinated biphenyls, tetrachloroethene, herbicides and nitrite/nitrate.

Occupational Toxicology

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (ed.) 2006. List of MAK and BAT Values 2006. Maximum Concentrations and Biological Tolerance Values at the Workplace. Report 42.
Weinheim. Wiley-VCH (ISBN: 3-527-31599-3)

German version: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (ed.) MAK- und BAT-Werte-Liste 2006. Maximale Arbeitsplatzkonzentrationen und Biologische Arbeitsstofftoleranzwerte. Mitteilung 42
Weinheim. Wiley-VCH (ISBN: 3-527-31598-5)

The MAK value (Maximale Arbeitsplatzkonzentration = Maximum Concentration in the Workplace) is defined as the maximum permissible concentrationof a chemical compound present in the air within a working area which, according to current knowledge, generally does not impair the health of the employee nor cause undue annoyance. These values are established by the Commisssion for the Investigation of Health Hazards in the Workplace of the German Science Foundation annually.

The BAT value (Biologische Arbeitsstofftoleranzwert = biological exposure value) is defined as the maximum permissible quantity of a chemical compound, its metabolites, or any deviation from the norm of biological parameters induced by these substances in exposed humans. The BAT values are also established by a commission of the Senate of the German Science Foundation and are published annually.

This periodical provides cumulative tables listing the Maximum Concentrations at the Workplace and the Biological Exposure Values for Occupational Toxicants established and also contains classification proposals for carcinogens. These values and classification proposals provide the basis for the legislatory process on hazardous substances which is prepared by the Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Sozialordnung (see below).

Greim H. ed.2006. Gesundheitsschädliche Arbeitsstoffe. Toxikologisch arbeitsmedizinische Begründungen von MAK-Werten (Occupational Toxicants. Critical Data Evaluation for MAK Values and Classification of Carcinogens).
Weinheim: Wiley-VCH (loose leaflet series, volumes 1 to 41, ISSN 0930-1984)

MAK values are established by a commission of the Senate of the German Science Foundation and are published annually (see above). The critical data evaluations of newly established or revised MAK values are published as supplementary monographs to this loose-leaf book (in total about 3.000 page).

Drexler H, Greim H. ed. 2006. Biologische Arbeitsstofftoleranz Werte (BAT-Werte), Expositionsäquivalente für krebserzeugende Arbeitsstoffe (EKA) und Biologische Leitwerte (BLW). Arbeitsmedizinisch toxikologische Begründungen (Biological Exposure Values for Occupational Toxicants and Carcinogens. Critial Data Evaluation for BAT, EKA and BLW Values).
Weinheim. Wiley-VCH (loose leaflet series, volumes 1 to 13, ISBN 3-527-19032-5).

Critical data evaluations of the newly established or revised BAT values are published as supplementary material to this loose-leaf book.

BG Chemie. ed. 2004. Toxikologische Bewertungen. (Toxicological Evaluations) Heidelberg (ISSN 0937-4248)
Since 2010 BG RCI (Berufsgenossenschaft Rohstoffe und chemische Industrie)
(access via internet:
English ---
German ---

More than 240 chemical substances are carefully evaluated with pronounced respect to oxicological effects.English translations have been published as 'Toxicological Evaluations' for most of these chemicals.

Roth L, Rupp G. 2000. Krebserzeugende Stoffe (Carcinogenic Substances). 3rd ed.
Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2000 (ISBN: 3-8047-1724-1)

This book aims at improving safety in handling of carcinogenic compounds at the workplace. A list of established and suspected carcinogens is provided together with a detailed profile of the individual carcinogens (physicochemical properties, toxicological data, safety regulations, and recommendations for safe handling). The book also lists the pertinent regulations for making and handling carcinogens.


Journals on Topics with Relevance for Toxicology

Traditional professional journals of toxicology in Germany are no longer published in German but have switched to English language in order to gain a wider readership. These journals are listed elsewhere.

However, recently two journals focussing on environment related topics have been founded that contain in part information related to toxicology:

Journal of Environmental and Occupational Science
Journal of Environmental and Occupational Science is an international peer-reviewed journal which aims to cover all aspects of environmental and occupatinal issues.
Until 2012 referred to as Umweltmedizin in Forschung und Praxis (Environmental Medicine - Research and Practice) Landsberg: ecomed, ISSN 1430-8681

Environmental Sciences Europe
ESEU is an international journal, focusing primarily on Europe, with a broad scope covering all aspects of environmental sciences, including the main topic regulation.
Until 2011 referred to as Umweltwissenschaften und Schadstoff-Forschung (Environmental Sciences and Hazardous Substance Research) Landsberg: ecomed, ISSN 0934-3504


Databases (Free Access)

Information on Authorized Plant Protection Products (Informationen über zugelassene Pflanzenschutzmittel) by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety.
(English ---
German ---

Phytomedicine (Plant protection - Phytopathology - Stored Products Protection)
Online searchable bibliographical database including more than 452.000 literature citations previously managed by the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (Biologische Bundesanstalt für Land- und Forstwirtschaft BBA), since 2008 Julius Kühn-Institut – Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen JKI).
(English ---
The open-access database CADIMA is a non-profit internet portal provided and maintained by the Julius Kühn-Institut aiming to increase the transparency and traceability of information in agricultural and environmental sciences.

Chemicals and Contact Dermatitis (Chemikalien und Kontaktallergie) managed by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
The database contains data of 244 chemical substances that have been evaluated for their potential for causing concact dermatis.
(German only, see link "Datenbank" ---

Recommendations on Food Contact Materials (Database BfR Recommendations on Food Contact Materials) managed by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
The Plastics Recommendations represent the current level of science and technology for the conditions under which consumer goods made of high polymer substances meet the requirements of Article 3, paragraph 1 a of the EC Regulation 1935/2004 in respect of their health safety.
(English ---
German ---

Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (Technische Regeln Gefahrstoffe, TRGS) developed by the Committee on Hazardous Substances
TRGS are concretions of rules for handlung of hazardous substances at workplace given of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (Gefahrstoffverordnung)
(English ---
German ---;jsessionid=EA6A3AFD599CC71F93F3055E7DD4DF00.s2t1

International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) - German version (Internationale chemische Sicherheitsdatenblätter) provided by the International Labour Organization (ILO)
(English ---

GESTIS Substance Database (GESTIS - Stoffdatenbank)
The Information system on hazardous substances of the Berufsgenossenschaften (i. e. German institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention). To date, this is the most important database on hazardous substances with free and public access via internet in German language.
(English ---
German ---

GESTIS International limit values for chemical agents provided by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), a main department of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) - (Institut für Arbeitsschutz IFA der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung DGUV) - until 2009 BGIA, Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit).

GESTIS International limit values for chemical agents provided by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA)
This database contains a collection of occupational limit values for hazardous substances gathered from various EU member states and the United States.
(English ---
German ---

WINGIS online Information System for Hazardous Substances (WINGIS Gefahrstoff-Informationssystem) of the Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention for the Construction Industry (BG Bau)
Information on technical products using in construction industry, presenting the GISCODE nomenclature.
(German only ---

Professional Societies

  • Gesellschaft für Toxikologie in der DGPT (Society of Toxicology associated to the German Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology)
    GT is engaged in development of toxicological science in Germany and education. Since the 1980ies GT is running a postgraduate training program with qualified courses in more than ten toxicological subdisciplines. GT and its members are also teaching toxicological topics in training programmes with main focus outside toxicology (e. g. environmental medicine). Expert committees develop and publish position statements on toxicological topic of political and public concern continouosly. Today, GT has 950 personal members.
    (German only ---
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für experimentelle und klinische Pharmakologie und Toxikologie (German Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology)
    (German only ---
  • Deutschen Gesellschaft für DNA-Reparaturforschung (DGDR, German Society for DNA Repair Research)
    (English ---
    German ---
  • Gesellschaft für Toxikologische und Forensische Chemie (GTFCh, Society of Toxicological and Forensic Chemistry)
    (English and German ---

Poisons Centres

The list of poisons centres in Germany is stored in separate document.


Although handling of chemical compounds is regulated by national legislation, national law must be harmonized with legislation in the European Union.Guidelines of the European Union have bindingly to be adopted nationally. The most important laws dealing with chemical compounds are described here.

Drug Law (Arzneimittelgesetz)

Responsibility: Federal Ministry for Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit)
Federal agency in charge: Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte)
The Drug law prescribes a procedure for the marketing authorization for drugs in which the quality, clinical efficiency, and safety of new drugs is assessed. Extensive toxicological data are required for this procedure. The Drug Law requires benefit assessment in addition to risk assessment.

Federal Immissions Control Act (Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz - Gesetz zum Schutz vor schädlichen Umwelteinwirkungen durch Luftverunreinigungen, Geräusche, Erschütterungen und ähnliche Vorgänge)

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit)
Federal agency in charge: Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt)
The law is devoted to the protection of humans, animals, plants, and objects from harmful effects arising from the environment, in particular from the air. It prescribes a procedure for the approval of installations in order to minimize the emission of dangerous substances into the environment.

Foods and Feed Code (Lebensmittel-, Bedarfsgegenstände- und Futtermittelgesetzbuch)

Responsibility: Federal Ministry for Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit)
Federal agency in charge: Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit)
The law regulates the handling of foods, cosmetics and commodities. It is devoted to the protection of the consumer by prohibiting products that may affect human health. It prescribes that only approved food additives may be used.

Plant Protection Act (Gesetz zum Schutz der Kulturpflanzen - Pflanzenschutzgesetz)

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft)
Federal agency in charge: Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit)
In implementing Directive 91/414/EEC, the Plant Protection Act prescribes a procedure for the marketing authorization for pesticides in which extensive toxicological data are required in order to ensure that the compounds do not exhibit harmful effects on humans, animals, or the environment.

These laws contain authorizations for the government to enact ordinances (Verordnungen) that regulate issues of the law in detail below the legislation level. For instance, details concerning the issues of the Chemicals Act are regulated in the Ordinance on Dangerous Substances (Gefahrstoffverordnung) published by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. Since Germany is a confederation, the approval of the Bundesrat (Federal Council, representing the federal states) is required for many of these ordinances. As a rule, federal agencies are responsible for the registration and marketing authorization, for the establishment of threshold values, and for the recommendation of precautions for health protection, whereas agencies of the states are responsible for supervision and prosecution.

Chemicals Act - Protection Against Hazardous Substances Act (Gesetz zum Schutz vor gefährlichen Stoffen - Chemikaliengesetz) and
Ordinance on Hazardous Substances
(Verordnung zum Schutz vor Gefahrstoffen – Gefahrstoffverordnung))

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales)
Federal agency in charge: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin)
The law prescribes a registration procedure for all chemical compounds to be introduced into the market except those regulated by another law. The extent of toxicological data required for registration depends on the amount of the chemical to be marketed. The law regulates the classification and labeling of chemicals and the handling of chemicals in the workplace, including the establishment of threshold values.

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