Around the world animals will now have to suffer less in
the name of safety for humans!
For the first time OECD has accepted four toxicological
test methods involving no animal experiments.
In May 2004 the International Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) accepted the first four toxicological
test methods involving no animal experiments into the OECD Test Guidelines
Programme. The BfR Centre for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternatives
to Animal Experiments (ZEBET) played a major role in the development and
validation of these methods. According to Professor Horst Spielmann,
Director of ZEBET; BfR has made an important contribution to replacing the
officially prescribed animal experiments with methods that do not require
the use of animals.
Two of the new alternatives to animal experiments
determine whether and, if so, to what degree a substance has a corrosive
effect on the skin. The two other methods determine the uptake of foreign
substances through the skin and the phototoxic properties of substances.
Instead of rabbits, biotechnologically manufactured human skin models are
used to test for corrosive properties. The uptake of substances by the
skin is tested using human skin samples and skin samples from slaughter
animals or using biotechnologically manufactured human skin models. In the
phototoxicity test cell cultures are used instead of experimental animals.
The tests have now been prescribed on the international
level by state authorities for the purposes of safety at work and consumer
protection in conjunction with the use of new chemical substances. The
alternative methods replace stressful animal experiments for the testing
of industrial chemicals, cosmetic ingredients, plant protection products
and medicinal products.
BfR has financed comprehensive biostatistical analyses,
the results of which were an important contributory factor to securing
international acceptance (cf. inter alia bgvv Press release 36/2001). In
2001 two OECD expert meetings were held in Berlin. A staff member of BfR
had been seconded to Paris and during this time he was able to overcome
the scientific reservations in the organs of the OECD Member States about
these new methods. Today, the methods are officially recognised by the
regulatory authorities in all OECD Member States. This recognition is the
precondition for success in terms of animal welfare of a new safety
toxicological test method involving no animal experiments. It has now been
met by the above four methods.
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