The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) has just released its strategy on how to achieve an animal-free solution for assessing chemicals for skin sensitisation.
The strategy went through extensive consultation with its advisory and stakeholder bodies and aims to satisfy regulatory requirements within various pieces of EU legislation.
The collaboration also includes Cosmetics Europe, the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) and international partners who will focus efforts on the development of one or more non-animal Integrated Testing Strategies (ITS) to identify and classify skin sensitizers.
The European Commission's involvement in activities targeted to the validation of alternative approaches to animal testing started in 1991, with the launch of ECVAM, which has long since practised in the validation of methods which reduce, refine or replace the use of animals for safety testing.
Goal of the strategy
According to the EU lab, successful implementation of this strategy in the coming years will satisfy the likes of information requirements under REACH and CLP (Classification Labelling and Packaging) and will also help to address the safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients.
"This will result in a significant reduction in the use of animals for regulatory purposes."
In the absence of validated and regulatory accepted alternative test methods, the assessment of the skin sensitisation potential of chemicals currently relies on animal testing.
Progress in the development of alternative methods has been prompted by the increasing knowledge on the key mechanisms of the skin sensitisation pathway, as recently documented in the OECD Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) for skin sensitisation.
This progress is reflected in the numerous submissions of alternative test methods for skin sensitisation that ECVAM has received.
A key element of the strategy is that the European Commission, through the lab, will aim at taking a leading role within the OECD to facilitate a globally accepted alternative approach for skin sensitisation hazard identification and classification.
For a full view of the strategy, please see here .
Awarded CLP accreditation
EURL recently received a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) accreditation from the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for its work in developing alternative methods and approaches.
The OECD, an intergovernmental organisation representing 29 industrialised countries in North America, Europe and the Pacific, offers the GLP award to labratories meeting its guidelines of uniformity, consistency, reliability, reproducibility, quality, and integrity of non-clinical safety tests for chemicals from physio-chemical properties to kinetic and dynamic toxicity.