Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemicals

We use our expertise in environmental trace analytics, experimental environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology as well as the modelling of the fate and effects of substances to analyse their risks in the environment. In consultation with the regulatory authorities, we identify issues and develop test guidelines to address them. We are partners to industry for the quality-assured implementation and evaluation of complex experimental and model-based studies with scientific standards and fulfil the relevant requirements of the ECHA (REACH) or EMA. We use the analysis and classification of molecular mechanisms of action in screening tools for environmental effects of product candidates. We host the Federal Environmental Specimen Bank and carry out environmental monitoring projects in order to identify potential new environmental impacts and verify prospective assessments.

Research, development and services

Standard studies for the notification and labeling of problematic industrial chemicals (including metals), biocides and pharmaceuticals:

Physico-chemical properties

Fate in the environment


Ecotoxicological effects

Effect and fate studies with nanomaterials

Complex studies for specific problems:

Modified standard tests for volatile, poorly soluble  and/or readily degradable substances, e.g. Water Accomodated Fraction (WAF) Tests

Fish-Full-Life Cycle-Tests

Micro-/mesocosm studies         

Model sewage treatment plants (open and closed system)      

Exposure assessments for chemical and biological agents in water, soil and consumer products by development/adaptation of exposure scenarios and exposure models

Testing the transformation/dissolution behavior and the bioaccessibility of metals and metal compounds including elemental species analysis       

Testing materials for the level of contamination with environmental chemicals

Development / adaptation of test and assessment strategies for ecological risk assessments

Expert reports on the environmental safety of chemical substance and products

Support for the registration and notification of chemical substances;
consultation in the context of REACH

Reviewing OECD Test Guidelines

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) had commissioned the two Fraunhofer Institutes IME and ITEM as well as Ramboll Deutschland GmbH to conduct a survey to review the OECD test guidelines. With the help of international expert groups, test guidelines were identified that currently do not correspond to the current state of science and technology. Only the OECD TGs used to assess environmental impacts were considered. After completing the surveys, the results were discussed in three thematic workshops. Recommendations for the revision of the OECD TGs were developed and prioritized, which were finally presented to the members of the Working Party of National Coordinators for the OECD Test Guidelines Program (WNT).

Read the report


Prof. Dr. Christoph Schäfers:

  • BMU, Commission for the Evaluation of Substances Hazardous to Water
  • DFG, Alliance Working Group: „Infrastructures in Terrestrial Research“
  • UBA, Working Group: Improvement of testing methods in the framework of the legislation on chemicals and substances, Sub-Group "Ecotoxicology, accumulation and dedradation in the environment"

Dr. Dieter Hennecke:

  • GDCh, Division "Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology" - Working Group "Soil", Chair

Dr. Heinz Rüdel:

  • IUPAC, Subcommittee on Chemical and Biophysical Processes in the Environment
  • GDCh, Division "Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology" - Working Group "Environmental Monitoring", Co-chair

Dr. Martin Müller:

  • GDCh, Division "Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology" - Working Group "Chemicals Assessment"

Dr. Karsten Schlich:

  • Bundesverband Boden, Section Soil Use and Soil Protection - Specialized Committee "Microplastics in soil"