EURL ECVAM Strategy
The EURL ECVAM Strategy to replace, reduce and refine the use of fish in aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation testing (published in 2014) provides an overview of ongoing projects.
EURL ECVAM contributes to several projects on the work plan for OECD test guideline programme (for 2016 see here):
- Update of OECD Guidance Document 23 on Aquatic Toxicity Testing of Difficult Substances and Mixtures
This project is co-lead by the International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO), the European Commission (JRC - EURL ECVAM) and USA and addresses the use of solvents in aquatic toxicity tests on fish.
When solvents are used, e.g. for the testing of poorly soluble chemicals, OECD test guidelines require two control groups - a water control and a solvent control.
Part 1 of the project aims at updating OECD Guidance Document 23 on Aquatic Toxicity Testing of Difficult Substances and Mixtures (OECD, 2000) with advanced methodology for media preparation and exposure systems, and by that minimising the use of solvents.
Part 2 of the project aims at determining whether it is possible to use only the solvent control. A retrospective review of existing data generated according to OECD test guidelines in the presence of a solvent is ongoing.
- Revision of OECD Guidance Document 126, the threshold approach for acute fish toxicity.
The project aims at updating OECD GD126, and integrate the fish embryo acute toxicity test (OECD TG236) into the step-wise approach for determining acute fish toxicity data. The project is co-lead by Austria and ICAPO.
- Revision of OECD Test Guideline 203 Fish Acute Toxicity. TG 203 determines the concentration of a chemical at which 50% of the fish die (LC50) and is one of the few guidelines still using death as an endpoint.
The project (led by Switzerland and UK) aims at including the use of non-lethal endpoints (moribund state) to reduce the suffering of the fish.
Scientific Options for Avoiding Chronic Fish Testing on the Basis of Existing Data and Extrapolation Approaches
Acute aquatic toxicity testing is a basic requirement in most pieces of EU chemicals legislation, whereas chronic aquatic toxicity testing may be required on a case by case basis, for example when the outcome of the acute testing indicates a risk, or when a long-term exposure to the chemical is expected.
EURL ECVAM explored whether interspecies extrapolations and acute-to-chronic relationships could be used to scientifically support the waiving of chronic fish tests.
For this purpose, acute and chronic toxicity data for Daphnia and fish were extracted from various databases and analysed to identify possible relationships taking into consideration different mode of actions.
The results of this analysis indicate that several types of aquatic toxicity data can be used to assess the potential for chronic fish toxicity.
In particular, interspecies extrapolations based on invertebrate (Daphnia) data, and acute-to-chronic extrapolations from existing acute fish toxicity data, are recommended as a means of deriving information on chronic fish toxicity without the need to perform additional fish tests.
EURL ECVAM published the report on Scientific options for avoiding chronic fish testing on the basis of existing data and extrapolation approaches in May 2016 (Kienzler et al., 2016).
Collaboration with ILSI HESI
EURL ECVAM is represented on the ILSI HESI project committee on the use of animal alternatives in environmental risk assessment and participates in several projects carried out in the framework of this committee.
- Ecological threshold of toxicological concern
An international collaboration under the ILSI HESI has been established to address challenges relating to the development and application of useful ecological threshold of toxicological concern (eco-TTC) concepts (Belanger et al., 2015).
Use of fish cell lines
EURL ECVAM has been scientific advisor to CEllSens, a project co-sponsored by CEFIC LRi and Defra/UK, which aimed to develop/standardise methods based on the use of fish cell lines and fish embryos for the prediction of acute fish toxicity. More information is available here.
As a follow-up of the CEllSens project, the RTgill-W1 (rainbow trout gill cell line) cytotoxicity assay has been evaluated for its transferability, within- and between-laboratory reproducibility under the umbrella of CEFIC LRI project ECO8.3-NC3Rs-EAWAG.
In addition, the RTgill-W1 cytotoxicity assay had been submitted to EURL ECVAM in early 2014 and the test submitter had been invited to provide a full submission. More details are availabe here.