Optimising testing strategies for classification of human health and environmental hazards - a proof-of-concept study

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This paper outlines a new concept to optimise testing strategies for improving the efficiency of chemical testing for hazard-based risk management. While chemical classification based on standard checklists of information triggers risk management measures, the link is not one-to-one. Toxicity testing may be performed with no impact on the safe use of chemicals . Each hazard class and category is not assigned a unique pictogram and for the purpose of this proof-of-concept study, the level of concern for a chemical for the population and the environment is simplistically considered to be reflected by the hazard pictograms.

Using active substances in biocides and plant protection products as a dataset, three testing strategies were built with the boundary condition that an optimal approach must indicate a given level of concern while requiring less testing (strategy B), prioritising new approach methodologies (strategy C) or combining the two considerations (strategy D). The implementation of the strategies B and D reduced the number of tests performed by 6.0% and 8.8%, respectively, while strategy C relied the least on in vivo methods. The intentionally simplistic approach to optimised testing strategies presented here could be used beyond the assessment of biocides and plant protection products to gain efficiencies in the safety assessment of other chemical groups, saving animals and making regulatory testing more time- and cost-efficient.



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