Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Great News!

For Immediate Release: August 3, 2010

New International Guideline Lauded as Global Standard for Skin Irritation Testing

Toronto––After more than a decade of scientific research and lobbying by animal protection advocates, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) test guidelines programme has approved a new, internationally agreed nonanimal approach for skin irritation testing. The guideline was adopted on July 22 and it is now available for use by companies and governments worldwide.

The OECD guideline allows for the use of three artificial human skin models engineered by SkinEthic in Nic e, France, and MatTek of Ashland, USA, or other methods that meet the guideline’s specifications.

These methods in all but a few circumstances will fully replace the 1940s-era Draize rabbit skin test, which entails the application of a test chemical to the shaved, raw skin on the backs of rabbits.

These new methods, however, provide a humane—and more accurate—assessment of the potential damage a substance poses to human skin. Manufacturers use excess skin cells from surgical procedures to construct a three-dimensional skin model that closely mimics the properties of human skin. Substances are applied to the skin model to assess the potential for skin damage when used in industrial or consumer applications.

As OECD invited experts, the International Council for Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO) provided scientific expertise that helped create the new guideline and ensure its acceptance. In addition, ICAPO members have individually lobbied for regional acceptance of in vitro skin irritation tests or provided direct financial support for the rigorous scientific trials that demonstrated the efficacy of one of the new methods.

“The science of safety testing has come a long way since the 1940s,” says Troy Seidle, who represents ICAPO member Animal Alliance of Canada. “By embracing new testing methods based on 21st century science, OECD countries are making a vital statement that the goals of animal, human health, and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.”

The OECD produces safety-testing guidelines for its 31 member nations, which represent many of the world’s largest economies.

The new guideline is available at http://bit.ly/b2KNYM.

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ICAPO comprises 11 animal protection organisations from North America, Europe and Asia for a combined representation of over 20 million citizens, and is dedicated to the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animals in OECD guidelines and other programs. Online at ICAPO.org.

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