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ECHA sees broad use of alternatives for chemical safety assessment

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Helsinki, 30 May 2023 – The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published its fifth report on the use of alternatives to testing on animals for the REACH Regulation. The report finds that progress is being made in the increased use of alternatives to gather data on the properties of substances, in place of animal testing.

Similarly, to previous reports, the most common adaptation is read-across, where information from similar substances is used. This is followed by justifications for omitting data (data waiving), combining information from different sources (weight of evidence) and predicting properties from structurally similar substances using computer models (QSAR).

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the use of in vitro test methods, which involve studies with cells, tissues, or organs. These are used specially to obtain data for skin corrosion/irritation, serious eye damage/eye irritation and skin sensitisation.

Around 50% of the studies conducted between 1990 and 2022 for skin and eye irritation have been performed in vitro. For new studies conducted in 2019-2022, this percentage rises to approximately 90%.


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