Achieving access to apartments of migrants in Berlin to access risks for their children concerning chemical consumer products

Hahn, A.; Kröger, G.; Adelberger, N.

Background: In 2009, in a joint cooperation, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) carried out an investigation concerning the poisoning situation of children, but with indifferent results for the poisoning risks in migrants. Between 2010 and 2011 some scientific assumptions were published in Germany that migrants could carry a higher risk of childhood poisoning. A feasibility study in Berlin, however, evaluated the options for achieving access to families with a migrant background in order to develop a framework for further, enlarged and systematically established scientific studies. Method: Existing data on migration background were evaluated regarding risks of chemical consumer products being responsible for childhood household poisoning accidents. The main instrument was a semi-standardised questionnaire for parents. Subject matter was focused on poisoning accidents which had occurred; knowledge about chemical products; attitudes towards the use of those products, their household storage and safety aspects and an important item “looking through the keyhole”. This means that if respondents agreed an expert would make a home-visit to evaluate real household product knowledge together with poisoning risks for children. Results: Regarding the cases of childhood poisoning accidents, the study did not support the assumption of a higher rate of relevant accidents in families with a migrant background - on the contrary, accidents occurred mainly in families with minor chemical use. There was no obvious correlation between age of the parents, family status, job, dwelling, knowledge about the products or their possible risks and causes of poisonings. In three-quarters of the cases, the affected children were the eldest. Possible impacts to be evaluated are e.g. the knowledge which might well have its origin in a specific cultural setting - about handling and risks of chemical products and the level of knowledge of the German language. Furthermore, more than half of the respondents agreed to an expert’s visit to their home. Conclusion: In order to develop adequate means of prevention in childhood poisoning, the focus has to be taken to special target groups and the evaluation of specific instruction materials. It is of nationwide importance to get personal access to the migrants. A combination of legal and educationally oriented measures seems promising.

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Hahn, A. / Kröger, G. / Adelberger, N.: Achieving access to apartments of migrants in Berlin to access risks for their children concerning chemical consumer products. 2013.

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