No.: 1/2018Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear Reader,

If bacteria become resistant to antibiotics and infections are therefore harder to treat, a serious risk to our health arises. Exactly this can happen when bacteria come into contact with antibiotic residues in soils, groundwater, rivers or lakes. Please, read in this newsletter edition what can be done about it. We would also like to present the current data on air quality in Germany: Levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution in 2017 were lower than the year before. Nevertheless, about 46 percent of the measuring stations located near traffic areas registered an exceedence of the annual average limit value. Furthermore, we have compiled a list for you of our recently published English-language publications and international UBA events scheduled for 2018.

We wish you pleasant reading

The UBA press office

Antibiotics in the environment promote resistant bacteria

Zeichnung mit folgenden Motiven: Traktor mit Güllebehälter und Schleppschlauchvorrichtung zur Gülleausbringung, Veterinärzeichen, Rind, Schwein, Pute, Hühner
Landing page image on Tierarzneimittel in der Umwelt portal
Source: Umweltbundesamt

742 tons of antibiotics were delivered to vets in Germany in 2016. If manure is spread on farmlands, the antibiotic residues excreted by the treated farm animals can reach soils, groundwater and water bodies where problems may arise: microorganisms causing diseases in humans may become more quickly resistant to antibiotics – a potential health risk to people.

The UBA therefore recommend to EU legislators to develop criteria for the marketing authorisation of medicines which allow for the verification of the resistance potential of antibiotics. Furthermore, an environmental risk assessment should be made up for antibiotics already on the market if environmental data are not available by now. A comprehensive environmental risk assessment is currently missing for around 50 percent of the marketable antibiotics for farm animals, since no EU-wide requirements for an assessment of this kind had been in place until 2005.

In addition, EU-wide monitoring of problematic active substances used in medicinal products in rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater and arable soils should be introduced – especially in the catchment of industrial-scale livestock farms, hospitals and sewage treatment plants.

However, also farmers and vets can contribute to reducing the use of antibiotics. The new UBA online portal “Veterinary medicinal products in the environment” provides practical measures and various background information (in German), with special focus on preventive health care measures for farm animals. Because veterinary medicinal products that are not administered won’t harm the environment.

Consumer tips

Eine Hand mit Gummihandschuh versucht Schimmel an einer Wand mit einem Schwamm zu entfernen

Preventing, detecting and cleaning up mould

Mould infestation is one of the most frequent problems in indoor space. If it is not cleaned up it can trigger or worsen respiratory diseases such as asthma or cause allergic reaction. The re-edited and updated mould manual (in German) from the German Environment Agency (UBA) shows how to deal with mould in the home, including its prevention, detection and clean-up. read more

UBA positions

Climate protection at the expense of forests?

The UBA warns of a further increasing use of bioenergy in the EU with the amendment of the Renewable Energies Directive with minimum or even negative benefit for climate protection. This is set against the background of climate protection criteria for energy from biomass that are not strict enough, which can lead to climate protection only existing on paper. read more (in German)

Science and research


Fish Embryo Acute Toxicity (FET) test: workshop report available

UBA and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) organised an expert workshop in May 2017. The aim was to exchange views on the potential applicability of the FET test for regulatory purposes under REACH, Biocidal Products- and Classifcation and Packaging Regulation and explore how it might be used as part of weight of evidence approaches for acute fish toxicity. read more

Water resource management: Basics, pressures, measures

The brochure Water Resource Management in Germany provides a detailed overview of the basics, pressures and measures of German water resource management, and presents essential factors and current data on the status of our waterways, on water protection as well as water supply and disposal. read more (in German)

Gender and sex in environmental health research

Health-related environmental monitoring is an instrument to analyse the relationship between environment and health. Biological and sociological differences between the sexes have hardly been considered in environmental health research until now. To close this gap, the UBA is participating in a new, innovative and interdisciplinary research project. read more (in German)

Industry & Environment

Logo: eco Bundespreis ecodesign

"Good design has nothing to hide"

"Greenwashing" can often disguise the negative impact of products and services on the environment. But the German Federal Ecodesign Award is different. For the seventh year in a row and until 09 April 2018, companies from all industries and of all sizes as well as designers and students can now submit their ecologically designed products and services. read more

a woman shopping clothes with a smartphone, standing in front of a wardrobe

Blue Angel: New requirements for mobile phones and textiles

The catalogues of criteria of the Blue Angel for textiles and mobile phones has been overhauled and approved by the Environmental Label Jury. Changes include details and additional requirements of the working conditions at the manufacturing site. Manufacturers may now apply for the ecolabel on their products. read more

Environmental label Blue Angel: New criteria for nappies, buses & co.

The jury of the environmental label agreed on a Blue Angel for disposable nappies in December 2017. The jury also adopted a few changes: Germany’s most famous environmental label is now also available for electric and hybrid buses. Many criteria of other product groups were revised. read more (in German)

How environmental organisations and companies can cooperate successfully

Companies and organisations committed to environmental protection can collaborate in various ways. Companies can support environmental protection associations financially or associations can advise companies on how to operate in a greener way. A new brochure from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the UBA makes suggestions on what both partners need to look out for. read more (in German)

Environmental performance indicators still not recognised as financial market standard

Institutional investors such as banks and funds managers still do not consider companies’ environmental, social and governance performance to the same extent as companies’ financial performance. Along with a partially lacking understanding of the financial relevance of these performance indicators, this is also due to obstacles in the information chain. read more (in German)

Processing of saline wastewater from plastics production

Industrial saline wastewater is problematic for several reasons: It makes pipes rust quicker, pollutes rivers and seas and impedes drinking water production. In a pilot plant of the Environmental Innovation Programme, the wastewater from plastics manufacturing has been processed without malfunctions, and water and salt have been fed back into the production cycle (electrolysis) since 2015. read more (in German)

Steel castings manufacturer saves energy and material

Friedr. Lohmann GmbH in North-Rhine Westphalia produces steel castings for wind turbines, tool manufacturing and other uses. With the support of the Environmental Innovation Programme, the challenge of making the production of small quantities with changing casting materials and cast parts in a resource-efficient manner has been met: with an innovative flexible casting line in high-bay warehouse form. read more (in German)

Environment at municipal level

Nine questions and answers on diesel

Diesel cars exceed the European limit for nitrogen dioxide on the street significantly. Facts on nitrogen dioxide pollution, driving bans, software updates, retrofitting of catalysers and the role of diesel engines for climate protection. read more (in German)

UBA brochure on sustainable street planning

The planning of streets and squares has a great impact on the quality of life and of the environment in our cities and communities. It influences the type of use, the mobility and the variety of activities in the street space. The brochure “rethinking streets and squares” gives practical examples of how municipalities can design their public space in a more appealing manner. read more (in German)

Environment at international level

Reagenzkolben mit Flüssigkeit

EU identifies Bisphenol A as a substance of very high concern

The EU has identified the chemical Bisphenol A as a substance of very high concern due to its hormonal effects on animals in the environment. As of January 2018, Bisphenol A has been placed on what is known as the REACH candidate list, not only due to its harmful effects on people but also because of its environmental characteristics. read more

Law & legislation

UBA guideline: Adjusting drinking water monitoring to risks

The amended Drinking Water Ordinance came into effect on 09 January 2018. In the future, drinking water suppliers can adjust their sampling to relevant local risks. An UBA guideline provides assistance. read more (in German)

The new Sewage Sludge Ordinance: a brief guide

A revised Sewage Sludge Ordinance came into effect on 03 October 2017. After a transitional period, sewage sludge from medium-sized and large sewage treatment plants may no longer be used as fertiliser. At the same time, a recovery of the phosphorus contained in sewage sludge is prescribed. The portal “Cleaner Production Germany” explains its background in a short film and a newsletter. read more (in German)

New obligation to declare emissions from building products

The German version of the European test standard DIN EN 16516 for the determination of emissions from building products into indoor air appeared in January 2018. It enables to provide information on health-related emissions in CE labels of building products for indoor spaces. From 1 February 2019, many manufacturers, for example those of floor coverings, are obliged to state the emissions of their products. read more (in German)

UBA News

National network of Sustainable Consumption starts implementation

The 2nd national network meeting of Sustainable Consumption on 12 December 2017 bore the title “Flagships for sustainable consumption - cooperation and implementation”. The network founded at the beginning of 2017 with almost 200 players from economics, politics, science, associations and civil society is a key component in the implementation of the National Programme for national consumption of the German federal government. read more (in German)

New publications

Das Cover der Publikaiton

Air Quality 2017

This evaluation of air quality in Germany in the year 2017 is based on preliminary data which has not yet been conclusively audited from the air monitoring networks of the federal states and the UBA, valid on 23rd January 2018. Due to the comprehensive quality assurance within the monitoring networks, the final data will only be available in mid-2018. The currently available data allows for a more

background paper
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of A resource efficient pathway towards a greenhouse gas neutral Germany

A resource efficient pathway towards a greenhouse gas neutral Germany

2nd Edition with adapted data and a partial recalculation in chapters two and three

The study shows that it is possible to transform Germany to both greenhouse gas neutral and resource efficient. One side of the balance is greenhouse gas and raw material saving due to exit from fossil energy carriers and the other is the increased raw material use for the construction of the renewable energy system. In the “GreenEe” scenario it is possible to reduce the GHG emissions in 2050 more

brochure / flyer
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover der Publikation Texte 114/2017 Are biocide emissions into the environment already at alarming levels?

Are biocide emissions into the environment already at alarming levels?

Recommendations of the German Environment Agency (UBA) for an approach to study the impact of biocides on the environment

More than 43,000 biocidal products were registered on the German market alone at the beginning of 2017, including disinfectants, preservatives, pest control and anti-fouling products. All biocides act as intended on living organisms and can enter the environment. Although some biocides have already been found in relevant environmental concentrations, they are still insufficiently considered in more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Texte 09/2018 Assessment of persistence, mobility and toxicity (PMT) of 167 REACH registered substances

Assessment of persistence, mobility and toxicity (PMT) of 167 REACH registered substances

For the first time a comprehensive list of 167 ⁠REACH⁠ registered substances were assessed with respect to their intrinsic substance properties persistence in the aquatic environment, mobility in the aquatic environment and toxicity. The results of this project will support the ongoing discussion to define PMT criteria under REACH. The present study provides a consolidated list more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Quality assurance of compost and digestate

Quality assurance of compost and digestate

Experiences from Germany

Establishing a quality assurance system for compost and digestate from bio-waste can help to decrease the amount of biodegradable waste being landfilled and to increase material recycling. Germany has been successfully operating such a system since 1989, comprising also an organisation with the competence to control the quality of compost and digestate and to award a quality label, the Bundesgü more

brochure / flyer
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover der Publikation Dokumentationen 02/2018 Roadmap for Healthy Buildings – 1st step: Harmonisation of Health Criteria for Construction Products

Roadmap for Healthy Buildings – 1st step: Harmonisation of Health Criteria for Construction Products

Discussion Report

A harmonised documentation of emission test results of construction products is needed for the declarations of performance under the EU Construction Products Regulation. In the discussions regarding the level of information details to be provided it has been difficult to find consensus due to the conflicting interests of the various parties concerned. In the view of the German authorities a more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover der Publikation Dokumentationen 01/2018 Scientific Stakeholder Meeting on Nanomaterials in the Environment

Scientific Stakeholder Meeting on Nanomaterials in the Environment

This report summarizes the contents and outcomes of the Scientific Stakeholder Meeting on Nanomaterials in the Environment which took place on the 10th and 11th October 2017 at the headquarters of the German Environment Agency (UBA) in Dessau-Rosslau, Germany. The meeting focused on regulatory relevant results of German and European research projects on nanomaterials in the environment which more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Texte 01/2018 Transformation research – exploring methods for an emerging research field

Transformation research

Exploring methods for an emerging research field

The last years, calls surged for a transformation research, which addresses the increasing global envi-ronmental and social challenges and supports transformations towards sustainability. As transfor-mation research developed rapidly in relation to various societal domains and established research strands, there is currently a need for self-reflection with regard to empirical and theoretical more

Number of pages
Year of publication


What exactly …

... is a former trainee doing as a UBA training manager today?

Manuela Metting at the specialist library for the environment at UBA

Manuela Metting at the specialist library for the environment at UBA
Source: Martin Stallmann / Umweltbundesamt

Manuela Metting has been dealing with “Training at the UBA” since she started working at the UBA. And from different perspectives: From 2002 to 2005, she attended a training at the UBA herself, represented all trainees of the UBA at the JAV (Youth and Trainees council), then the entire UBA staff in the staff council, and later trained apprentices herself to become administrative officers. The specialist in Media and Information Services has now been a training manager in the UBA HR department for about a year.

The UBA trains for a total of six training occupations and at three different locations. The duties of training managers are diverse. They take care of the advertising of trainee positions, the selection process and the contracts, but also public relations and the conceptional development of training at the UBA. Current topics to be considered are for example digitalisation, diversity and skills shortage. And alongside specialist training of mostly young people, topics such as addiction prevention are also on the agenda.

This year, the UBA will participate as a national cooperation partner in the initiative “No clichés”, and will seek to ensure that girls and boys choose a profession suited to their strengths – without gender stereotypes.


Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency)
Präsidialbereich / Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Internet; Pressesprecher
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Phone: +49(0) 340 2103-2416
Fax: +49(0) 340 2103-2285

Corinne Meunier

Six times a year our Newsletter „UBA aktuell“ provides information about the latest activities and work of the German Environment Agency (UBA).

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