Alternatives to animal testing & Safety Assessment of Chemicals
Testing consumer products for potentially harmful side effects of chemical ingredients is important for the protection of both the consumer and those involved in the manufacturing process. Laboratory animals have been widely used in the past for testing but for many years the European Union has promoted the development of alternative techniques to eliminate or minimise the use of animals.
This is an increasingly important issue as European legislation on cosmetics is gradually introducing a ban on the marketing of cosmetics with ingredients tested on animals. Legislation such as theis also encouraging the use of alternative methods and the avoidance of duplicating tests. This has created incentives for the development of alternative approaches that are at least as good as animal tests and potentially more cost effective.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP) is host to the EU’s principal organisation for the scientific validation of alternative methods to animal testing – EURL , formally established in 2011. EURL ECVAM has inherited the specific competence of the former European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), hosted by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, which coordinated the validation of alternative approaches to animal testing in the European Union since 1991.
EURL ECVAM is actively involved in the search for test methods which replace, reduce or refine (the 'Three Rs') the use of laboratory animals in the test process. Methods developed by research laboratories are submitted to EURL ECVAM whose assessment of the robustness, reliability and predictive capacity of the methods is based on independent peer review of validation study reports. EURL ECVAM’s work is supported by the EURL ECVAMESAC. The Institute also engages with regulators and national testing laboratories early in the process to ensure the relevance and suitability of the submitted alternative methods. Read more...
Improved Safety Assessment of Chemicals without relying on Animal Testing
One of the activities of the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection is to support the implementation of EU chemicals policy (including the safety assessment of industrial chemicals, chemicals in consumer products, pesticides and biocides). Using their knowledge about physical, chemical and biological processes, the IHCP teams adopt a hypothesis-driven, multi-disciplinary approach integrating in vitro methods with computational based methodologies (in silico) together with 'omics' approaches. This is aimed at identifying potential toxicants on the basis on an understanding of their mechanisms of biological action. Read more...
Joint initiative on alternative approaches to animal testing
A joint initiative from the European Commission, European trade associations from seven industry sectors and individual companies in 2005 led to the creation of the. Its purpose is to promote the development and implementation of new methods to replace, reduce, refine (the '3 Rs') animal testing with modern alternative approaches.