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Workshop highlights need for hazard assessments without animals

By Simon Pitman , 05-Feb-2013
Last updated the 05-Feb-2013 at 12:26 GMT

With the ban on testing cosmetic ingredients on animals now final in Europe, a recent workshop drew attention to the importance of skin sensitization and alternative approaches.

“A tighter collaboration at the international level is an important condition to achieve better 3Rs progress”, stated Bruno Hubesch, representative of CEFIC-LRI and member of EPAA.

The 3Rs stands for replacing, reducing and refining animal testing, a mantra that has defined objectives to both simplify and streamline the process since the movement first started gaining momentum more than ten years ago.

The ban on ingredients testing comes in to force this March

These objectives have become more pressing than ever in view of the fact that European Commission official Tonio Borg last week confirmed that the European Union has confirmed a complete ban on the sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals from next month.

Held in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday, the event was organised by the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing and the European Chemical Industry Council and gathered more than 50 regulators and experts, both from industry and regulatory authorities.

This was the third such workshop, following on from events in 2010 and 2011, when the focus was local lymph node assay and skin sensitization was the focus of each respective event.

Focusing on development strategies

This workshop concentrated on the conclusions made concerning the last workshop on skin sensitization and where the industry is with respect to this now, together with focusing on the development of strategies for hazard identification and characterization which use non-animal methods.

The workshop included a full day of presentations, which had sections on current regulatory methods, the latest non-animal testing methods and risk assessment strategies, together with a round table on practical applications of data from alternative testing methods, as well as a plenary discussion.

Speakers included representatives from some of the biggest cosmetic and personal care suppliers and manufacturers in Europe, including BASF, Symrise and Unilever, as well as industry associations such as Cosmetics Europe and European Silicones Center.

United objective: alternative hazard assessments

According to the organisers, the united objective was the need to find alternative hazard assessments to animal testing that are effective, with a particular focus on in vitro as well as silico approaches proving to be the main focus.

While industry stressed its approach at the event, regulators promoted the application of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) for the establishment of integrated testing strategies, which are proving to be the focus for skin sensitization hazard assessment.

Ultimately the organizer said that the workshop represented an international collaboration on ways to promote the adoption of alternative testing methods in regulatory toxicology.

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