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Political Advice on Environmental Health Issues

Scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München contribute their expertise to a number of advisory bodies in the public sector. In this way, they help to ensure that new insights from health and environmental research are rapidly transformed into recommendations for action and can be incorporated into guidelines, thresholds and limits, and legal regulations.

Staff members of the Center belong to numerous national and international bodies in the field of preventive health care which use their scientific competence as aid in deciding on policies and legislation. These include:

The Task Force on Improving Location Conditions and Innovation Opportunities for the Pharmaceutical Industry in Germany was set up in 2003 under the chairmanship of the Federal Ministry of Health  in order to point out shortcomings and to elaborate concrete measures to remedy them.

The German Academy of Science and Engineering (ACATEC) represents the interests of science and technology in Germany on a national and international level. ACATEC seeks to voice the concerns of the technological sciences in the public discourse and advises policy-makers on societal issues. ACATEC foremost objectives are to emphasize the importance of future-relevant technologies for the economy and society as a whole support initiatives promoting technological development and to support young researchers in Germany.

The Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (MAK Commission) of the German Research Foundation (DFG) is responsible for determining the current state of research relating to health risks posed by substances and materials used at the workplace and for advising public authorities accordingly. The Commission publishes an annual list of Mak and Bak values, in which the maximum concentration at the workplace of hazardous substances and biological tolerance values are given according to the most recent scientific evidence.

The Radiation Protection Commission (SSK) advises the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in all matters concerning the protection against ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Its tasks include making suggestions for exposure limits and issuing recommendations on the evaluation of radiation effects. The Commission also advises on drawing up guidelines and provisions for radiation protection.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP, is an international commission of experts. By making recommendations and providing guidelines, it aims to utilize insights gained from research data on radiation protection to benefit public health.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR, is concerned with the effects of atomic technology and radioactivity. Its reports serve the International Commission of Radiation Protection (ICRP) as one of the bases of their recommendations for national radiation protection legislation.

Scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München also participate in working groups of various associations and organizations. These bodies advise in preparing position papers and in setting German and European standards for monitoring the purity of air, water and soil. Among these are special committees of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and its special societies, the Federal Association of German Plant Breeders (bdp) and the Association of German Agricultural Research Stations (VDLUFA).