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The European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (Colipa) announced yesterday that The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EVCAM) scientific committee now endorses new safety test methods that eliminate animal testing. The tests, validated on May 2, determine likelihood for skin irritation, eye irritation and skin allergic reactions.
The replacement method for skin irritation, Episkin, will not require animals to test the potential for irritation of any chemical substance. This includes tests on chemicals used in other consumer products and not only cosmetics. The scientific committee noted the usefulness of "organotypic" tests to identify severe eye irritants and the ICCVAM assessment conducted in the United States on these tests. Organotypic tissue culture tests use ex vivo biological materials. The ex vivo materials are obtained form animals used for human (food) consumption, according to the committee. Therefore, the tests are considered as in vitro. Specifically, the bovine corneal opacity and permeability assay and the isolated chicken eye assay are both under consideration.
In terms of skin allergy, the new test strategy will allow a decrease in the number of animals required to assess the potential for skin allergy. The committee notes this advance as particularly important in light of the new REACH regulations.
“This decision is a milestone in the development of alternative methods, and we are proud that the cosmetics industry played a significant role in the development and validation of these methods” said Bertil Heerink, director general, Colipa.
Descriptions of the testing methods can be accessed on ECVAM's Web site.