Monday, August 15, 2011

Agencies Propose Using Fewer Animals to Identify Eye Hazards from Chemical Exposure

Two interagency projects have combined to propose a new alternative testing method that will reduce the number of animals used to determine if chemical exposures will lead to eye hazards.  The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), in collaboration with the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), have issued a Federal Register notice requesting public comments on the proposal.

The Federal Register notice can be downloaded here.

Specifically, the interagency groups evaluated the classification criteria using results from testing only 3 animals instead of the usual 6 to 18 animals.  They determined that "using a classification criterion of at least 1 positive animal in a 3-animal test to determine eye hazards will provide the same or greater level of eye hazard classification as current FHSA requirements, while using 50% to 83% fewer animals."

Based on their analysis, ICCVAM has developed draft recommendations "to use this classification criterion for ocular safety testing procedures that use only a maximum of 3 animals per test substance."  The goal is to limit the use of animals in testing for the safety of chemicals.  Non-animal test methods are also being developed, and these reduced-animal tests are one step towards eliminating animal testing whenever possible. 

With the Federal Register notice these groups are requesting public comments.  Comments are due by September 26, 2011 and can be done online at the NICEATM-ICCVAM web site here.

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