The Epoxy Resins working group

Developing methods to prevent diseases associated with epoxy resins

The Epoxy Resins working group is a continued project from the New Quality of Work Initiative (INQA) started by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). Since 2007, members of the group from various sectors have been working on ways to promote the safe use of epoxy resins.

The Epoxy Resins working group was founded with the aim of developing measures to prevent allergic skin diseases caused by epoxy resins, which is a health risk in many industry sectors.

Since it is usually not possible to replace epoxy resins with substances that are less harmful, the initial focus of the working group was to improve technical, organisational and personal protective measures.

Technical measures mainly apply to the special design of the containers: For example, in a container with the appropriate design, the components can be mixed together without any skin contact.

Organisational measures - such as considering sufficiently long curing times and using clean tools - can also prevent contact with skin, as can personal protective measures, such as wearing the appropriate gloves, protective suits, protective pants, protective goggles and headgear.

Furthermore, a range of different studies show that the handling of chemicals is safer when employees have received a sufficient level of information pointing out the risks associated with the product and have also received specific, correct handling instructions.

The working group developed an assessment system for epoxy resin products, which was used to establish criteria for well-designed containers and helpful information in the technical information sheets and safety data sheets. Manufacturers can use this assessment system to improve their products, and these products can then be mentioned on this homepage.

Another important contribution of the working group was the development of a method for testing the resistance of chemical protective gloves against solvent-free epoxy resins. Gloves that have pass through the relevant testing can be found on the List of suitable gloves for solvent-free epoxy resins.

In recent years, it has been demonstrated that sensitising substances can have different sensitising potencies. This was a finding from the DGUV project 'Ranking of substances in epoxy resin systems based on their sensitising potency'. According to this project, toxicological properties could also play a role as criteria for epoxy resins that are less dangerous. By selecting ingredients with a lower sensitising potency, it would be possible to develop epoxy resin systems that are less harmful and place them on the market.

The members of the Epoxy Resins working group include:

  • Manufacturers (Epoxy Europe, Deutsche Bauchemie e.V., Industrieverband Klebstoffe e.V.)
  • Users (Central Association of the German Construction Industry [ZDB], the German Construction Industry Federation [HDB], Federal Association for Paint, Design and Building Protection)
  • Trade unions (IG BAU)
  • Dermatologists (Information Network of Departments of Dermatology)
  • Health education organisations (Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation [iDerm] at the University of Osnabrück)
  • Government authorities (representatives of the German Federal States)
  • International occupational safety and health authorities (AUVA)
  • German social accident insurance institutions


E-Mail to the epoxy resing working group: