PCRM Convenes Experts on Nonanimal Skin Absorption Tests
Countless 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.