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PCRM Works with Chemical Companies to Replace Draize Tests

PCRM scientists attended the Society of Toxicology meeting this March with a critical goal—to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to accept nonanimal testing for skin and eye irritation. The agency currently requires pesticides to be evaluated with animal tests, using the infamous Draize tests, in which experimenters dose the eyes of rabbits with corrosive chemicals or smear potentially harmful materials onto rabbits’ shaved skin.

PCRM is collaborating with chemical manufacturers to encourage the EPA to replace these animal tests. Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., PCRM’s scientific and policy adviser, gave a presentation at the conference on in vitro skin and eye test methods for pesticide testing. PCRM experts also met with EPA regulators and a European chemical company to discuss these test methods.



PCRM Convenes Experts on Nonanimal Skin Absorption Tests

Nonanimal Skin Absorption TestsCountless animals are used and killed in tests that assess how a chemical enters the body through the skin. A typical test uses approximately 120 rats to check just one chemical. But nonanimal methods are gaining ground. This May, PCRM will co-host an expert workshop with the Institute for In Vitro Sciences to help regulatory agencies replace this animal-based test with new test-tube methods.

Regulators from the United States’ and Canada’s pesticide regulatory agencies will attend, along with top experts who conduct in vitro tests. Attendees will work toward an agreement on a testing protocol that the agencies can accept—paving the way for in vitro methods to replace animal methods.

In vitro versions use human cadaver skin or three-dimensional skin models grown in a laboratory. The test substance is applied to the skin model, and absorption is assessed by how much ends up in the receptor fluid beneath the skin after a certain amount of time.

For an animal dermal absorption test, a chemical compound is applied to an animal’s skin, and the animal is killed to determine where the chemical traveled inside the animal’s body.

The workshop results will have a strong influence on other animal-based tests. Compounds not significantly absorbed through the skin do not need to be tested for other toxic effects through the skin. If a compound does not pass through the skin, it need not be applied to animals’ skin to test for reproductive toxicity resulting from dermal absorption.

PCRM will publish the results of the workshop in a scientific journal.



 

Good Medicine Spring 2012 Vol. XX1, No. 2

Good Medicine
Spring 2012
Vol. XXI, No. 2

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