The German Centre for Micropollutants

kleines, altes Bahnhofsgebäude aus rotem Backstein, über der Eingangstür der Schriftzug "Wörlitzer Bahnhof"
© Janek Kubelt / UBA

The German Centre for Micropollutants (SZB) was established in 2021 at the German Environment Agency after adoption of the Trace Substance Strategy of the Federal Government. It will become the contact point which assumes coordination and integration of the focal area “Trace Substances in Waters”.

Micropollutants in Water Bodies

Residues of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, biocides and other chemicals can have effects on the environment and human health even in low concentrations. These micropollutants are increasingly being detected in our water bodies, not least thanks to better analytical methods. Recommendations for reducing the input into water bodies are listed. read more

Committee for the Identification of Relevant Micropollutants

The “Committee for the Identification of Relevant Micropollutants” is made up of up to 15 experts from authorities, industry, academia, environmental and water associations. The committee meets at regular intervals to conclusively evaluate micropollutants for their environmental relevance to water bodies on the basis of proposals from the German Centre for Micropollutants (SZB). read more

From Stakeholder Dialogue to German Centre for Micropollutants

In 2016, the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) launched a stakeholder dialogue to develop the federal government’s Trace Substance Strategy. The goal was to reduce the input of micropollutants into water bodies. In order to consolidate the findings and the measures initiated, the German Centre for Micropollutants was founded at the German Environment Agency in 2021. read more

  • Scientific Opinion Paper: Proposal for the Amendment of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

    On 26 October 2022, the EU Commission published the proposal for the amendment of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). In April 2023, the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) took a position on this in its Scientific Opinion Paper "Moving forward: The European Commission's Proposal for a Recast Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive".

    Moving forward: The European Commission’s Proposal for a Recast Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

  • New relevant Micropollutants

    On 27 and 28 June 2023, the committee for the identification of relevant micropollutants approved the relevance classifications of melamine (large tonnage industrial chemical), diphenylguanidine (vulcanisation accelerator in tyres) and the antihypertensive pharmaceuticals sartans. The brief dossiers will be published shortly.

    Relevant Micropollutants

  • Success for the "Round Table 1H-Benzotriazole": Stiftung Warentest evaluates the use of benzotriazole in dishwasher detergents

    In the latest issue (test 8/2023) of the German consumer's magazine Stiftung Warentest, a new criterion was included in the evaluation of dishwasher tabs under the category "water pollution": The use of triazoles and thus also of the trace substance 1H-benzotriazole, which is classified as relevant, leads to a downgrading in the quality rating. Thus, dishwasher tabs containing the trace substance 1 H-benzotriazole as a silver protection agent can at best achieve an overall rating of "satisfactory" (grade 3.0). At the same time, the report shows that the use of 1-H benzotriazole is not necessary for good performance in material protection. The new approach of Stiftung Warentest is a positive incentive for manufacturers to adapt their formulations and thus reduce water pollution.

    Round Table 1H-Benzotriazole test 8/2023 | Dishwasher tabs (in German)

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