In a press release published on June 8, 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced the publication of its fourth report on the use of alternative testing for the REACH regulation, showing that the number of alternative testing adaptions continues to increase with read-across approaches being most common, but finding overall relatively few changes since the last report in 2017.
The press release notes that “the most common adaptation was the use of information on similar substances (read-across, 25 %).” It further reports that “this is followed by justifications for omitting data (data waiving [7.7 %]), combining information from different sources (weight of evidence [3.7 %]) and predicting properties from structurally similar substances using computer models (QSAR [quantitative structure-activity relationship, 2.6 %]).” Alternative testing methods applied for substance registrations under REACH with annual tonnage ranges of 10-100 tons were found to match those in higher registrations ranges, with the exception of acute toxicity testing where 3 % fewer experimental animal studies have taken place. For the lowest volume substances (1-10 tons per year), fewer experimental studies and less read-across have been seen to be balanced out by an increase in the use of weight of evidence approaches, QSARs, and data-waiving. The report finds registrants have made use of at least one adaptation to avoid animal testing for near 70 % of all substances.
Looking to the future, ECHA says that it “urges companies to make use of all guidance and tools at their disposal to strengthen their use of alternative approaches when reviewing and updating their registrations.”
ECHA (June 8, 2020). “Alternatives to animal testing continue to be widely used.”
Emma Davies (June 10, 2020). “Echa alternatives report highlights Qsar ‘issues’.” Chemical Watch
Emma Davies (June 10, 2020). “No ‘great change’ in uptake of non-animal test methods, NGOs say.” Chemical Watch