EU Science Hub

A Tale of Two Toxicologies – new book on the history of alternative methods

A Tale of Two Toxicologies – new book on the history of alternative methods
A Tale of Two Toxicologies – new book on the history of alternative methods
Dec 11 2018

JRC scientists have contributed to the editing and writing of a book on the history of alternative methods in toxicology and chemical safety assessment.

The book presents historical perspectives on the development, validation, acceptance and use of alternatives to animal testing over the past half-century, with an emphasis on humanity and good science, in line with the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement of animal procedures).

Introductory chapters set the scene by explaining how toxicity testing informs regulatory assessments, and what types of technology are used.

Historical developments are then described from a variety of perspectives:

  • by country, region or organisation;
  • methodology types (cell-based or computational methods);
  • health effects of concern;
  • information sources;
  • applications of alternative methods in different regulatory sectors (e.g. chemicals, cosmetics, biologicals).

Taking stock of progress and current challenges, the book concludes with a summary of lessons learned, and presents an outlook for the future.

Along with other internationally recognised experts in the field, JRC staff contributed to chapters covering topics such as the role of the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Three Rs developments in Italy and Spain,  assessment of chemicals in food, testing for carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity, dissemination of information on alternative methods ,  integrated approaches to testing and assessment (IATA), and principles and procedures for validating alternative methods.

The book was edited jointly by Michael Balls (formerly JRC, the first Head of ECVAM), Robert Combes (former director of FRAME, UK) and Andrew Worth (JRC).

Read more in:
Balls M, Combes R & Worth A, eds. (2018). The History of Alternative Test Methods in Toxicology, 352pp. New York, NY, USA: Academic Press, Elsevier.