New test eliminates need for skin irritancy tests on rabbits
The Scientific Advisory Committee of European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) has today announced the validation of five new “in-vitro” tests, which take an important step towards ending the practice of using rabbits in skin and eye irritancy testing. These tests will apply to many everyday products such as washing-up liquid, face cream or make-up, and also literally thousands of industrial chemicals that will have to be assessed under the new REACH chemicals legislation. One of the validated tests mimics human skin and predicts the skin irritancy potential of chemicals with great accuracy and precision and will therefore fully replace tests on rabbits. Two other tests can identify severe eye irritants, thereby avoiding the need to use the live rabbit eye test. Furthermore, a new validated test strategy for skin allergy cuts animal use by half saving up to 240,000 mice in the implementation of the REACH legislation. These tests, validated by a committee composed of nominees from the EU Member States, industry, academia and animal welfare, must now be accepted by regulatory authorities and in the Member States. The role of ECVAM, which is based at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre is to replace, refine and reduce methods of animal testing for cosmetics, drugs and chemicals.