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Companies, Regulatory Authorities Can Spare Millions of Animals in Labs With New OECD Test Method, Says Animal Protection Coalition
Aug. 4, 2011
PARIS—The International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO)  is calling for immediate action by companies and regulatory authorities worldwide to replace the traditional “two-generation” animal test for reproductive toxicity with a new “extended one-generation” method that has just been adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development . Although still an animal test, the new one-generation test uses approximately half the number of animals as the old two-generation method (1,400 rats per test vs. 2,600).
The new OECD method was adopted on 28 July, just in time for a large number of reproductive toxicity proposals under the European chemicals regulation “REACH,” the revision of the EU testing requirements for pesticides and biocides, and increased U.S. testing of certain pesticides and industrial chemicals. Within these programs it is estimated that millions of animals could be killed for reproductive toxicity testing alone. The extended one-generation test introduces a number of new parameters designed to better identify “endocrine disrupting” chemicals, and provides for the optional assessment of neurological and immune system parameters when warranted. By assessing all of these parameters in combination rather than as separate studies, animal use can be reduced by up to 70 percent.
“This guideline will go a long way towards reducing the number of animals killed in toxicity testing until non-animal alternatives can be developed,” says ICAPO representative Kate Willett, PhD.
Adds ICAPO representative Troy Seidle: “It is absolutely crucial that authorities worldwide pro-actively call for this test method to be used in lieu of the traditional version, and that companies begin to use it, without delay.”
Adoption by the 34 member nations of the OECD follows a series of rigorous studies, which found that “the second generation mating and offspring will very rarely provide critical information” . In other words, the vast majority of reproductive toxicants are identified in the first generation.
As OECD invited experts, ICAPO provided scientific expertise that helped create the new guideline and ensure its acceptance. In addition, ICAPO member groups are engaged in individual lobbying efforts to ensure regional acceptance of the new protocol across relevant industry sectors.
Media Contact: Dania DePas 202-527-7382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Protection Coalition Applauds International Adoption of Replacement to Cruel Rabbit Draize Test
New International Guideline Lauded as Global Standard for Skin Irritation Testing
PARIS— After more than a decade of scientific research and lobbying by animal protection groups, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has approved a new, nonanimal testing guideline for skin irritation. The guideline was adopted on July 22 and it is now available for use by companies and governments worldwide.
The OECD guideline allows for the use of three artificial human skin models engineered by SkinEthic in Nice, France, and MatTek of Ashland, Massachusetts, United States, or other methods that meet the guideline’s specifications.
These methods in all but a few circumstances will fully replace the 1940s-era Draize rabbit skin test which has traditionally been conducted to assess skin irritation by applying chemicals to shaved, raw skin on the backs of rabbits.
These new methods, however, provide a humane—and more accurate—assessment of the potential damage a substance poses to human skin. Manufacturers use excess skin cells from surgical procedures to construct a three-dimensional layer of skin that closely mimics the properties of human skin. Substances are applied to the skin model to assess the potential for skin damage when used in industrial or consumer applications.
As OECD invited experts, the International Council for Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO) provided scientific expertise that helped create the new guideline and ensure its acceptance. In addition, ICAPO members have individually lobbied for regional acceptance of in vitro skin irritation tests or provided direct financial support for the rigorous scientific trials that demonstrated the efficacy of one of the new methods.
"The science of safety testing has come a long way since the 1940s," says ICAPO representative Kristie Sullivan. "Taking animals out of the equation will reap dividends for industry and consumers in the form of faster tests and safer products.”
ICAPO comprises 11 animal protection groups from Europe, Asia, and North America for a combined representation of over 20 million citizens, and is dedicated to the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animals in OECD guidelines and other programs.
The OECD produces safety-testing guidelines for its 31 member nations, which represent many of the world’s largest economies.
Media contact: Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or email@example.com
©2008 International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO)