Nav: Home

Countries unite to reduce animal use in product toxicity testing worldwide

April 27, 2009

Representatives from four international agencies, including the director of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), today signed a memorandum of cooperation that could reduce the number of animals required for consumer product safety testing worldwide. The agreement between the United States, Canada, Japan and the European Union will yield globally coordinated scientific recommendations on alternative toxicity testing methods that should speed their adoption in each of these countries, thus reducing the number of animals needed for product safety testing. The memorandum is available at http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/docs/about_docs/ICATM-MOC.pdf .

"Signing this international agreement demonstrates our commitment to finding and advancing alternatives to animal testing," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the NTP and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. "This agreement will help us achieve greater efficiency by avoiding duplication of effort and allowing us to leverage limited resources."

Birnbaum signed as the U.S. representative on behalf of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), one of the national validation organizations participating in the agreement. Others who signed include Elke Anklam, Ph.D., for the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), David Blakey, D.Phil., for the Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau within Health Canada, and Masahiro Nishijima, Ph.D. for the Japanese Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM).

The agreement promotes enhanced international cooperation and coordination on the scientific validation of non- and reduced-animal toxicity testing methods. If the toxicity testing methods are shown to be reproducible based on strong scientific information, and able to accurately identify product related health hazards, the tests are more readily accepted by regulatory agencies.

"The memorandum covers three critical areas of test method evaluation: validation studies, independent scientific peer review meetings and reports, and development of test method recommendations for regulatory consideration," said Marilyn Wind, Ph.D., chair of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods and a scientist at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

"This international cooperation will benefit both people and animals," said William Stokes, D.V.M., director of NICEATM and executive director of ICCVAM. Stokes is also an assistant surgeon general in the U.S. Public Health Service. "The cooperation will serve an important role in translating research advances into more effective public health prevention tools. It will speed the adoption of new test methods based on advances in science and technology that will provide more accurate predictions of safety or hazard. Animal welfare will also be improved by the national and international acceptance of alternative test methods that reduce, refine, and replace the use of animals."

Federal agencies are committed to the welfare of animals used in research. All animals used in federally-funded research are protected by laws, regulations and policies to ensure they are used in the smallest number possible and with the greatest commitment to their comfort. ICCVAM is working to promote the development and validation of alternative test methods. Alternative test methods are those that accomplish one or more of the 3Rs - reducing the number of animals used in testing, or refining procedures so animals experience less pain and distress, or replacing animals with non-animal systems.

"We are very pleased to be part of this effort and to continue our already successful collaboration in a formalized manner," said Elke Anklam, Ph.D., director for the Institute of Health and Consumer Protection for the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, where the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, ICCVAM's European counterpart, is located. Anklam has signed the agreement as representative on behalf of the EU. Her colleague Joachim Kreysa, Ph.D., the recently appointed head of ECVAM, further remarked, "I am enthusiastic about the agreement. Our collaboration will help to identify and embrace scientifically sound and robust new testing approaches, ensuring that safety assessments are never compromised, while at the same time reduce the need for animal testing."

"Although we've had informal collaborations over the years, this more formal agreement will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively," said Hajime Kojima, Ph.D., director of the Japanese Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods.

David Blakey, D.Phil., director of the Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau within Health Canada, added that the effort is a major step forward. "Increased coordination, collaboration and communication will clearly enhance the global progress in this important area."
-end-
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods coordinates validation studies on proposed alternative methods, evaluates the results by peer review, and provides recommendations to the European Union National Coordinators for regulatory acceptance of the methods validated. For more information on ECVAM, visit http://ecvam.jrc.it/.

The Japanese Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods is a component of Japan's National Institute of Health Sciences and was established in 2005 to coordinate validation studies on proposed alternative methods, conduct peer reviews of test methods, and provide recommendations to regulatory authorities.

The Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau within Health Canada coordinates activities relevant to health-related test method validation and acceptance issues. For additional information, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/branch-dirgen/hecs-dgsesc/sep-psm/ehsrb-bsser-eng.php.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is an interagency program established in 1978. The program was created as a cooperative effort to coordinate toxicology testing programs within the federal government, strengthen the science base in toxicology, develop and validate improved testing methods, and provide information about potentially toxic chemicals to health, regulatory, and research agencies, scientific and medical communities, and the public. The NTP is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). For additional information, visit http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov.

The NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) administers and provides scientific support for ICCVAM and is a part of the NTP at the NIEHS. For additional information, visit NICEATM at http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/about/about_NICEATM.htm.

NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For more information on environmental health topics, visit our website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Related Health Articles:

Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
Generous health insurance plans encourage overtreatment, but may not improve health
Offering comprehensive health insurance plans with low deductibles and co-pay in exchange for higher annual premiums seems like a good value for the risk averse, and a profitable product for insurance companies.
The Lancet Planetary Health: Food, climate, greenhouse gas emissions and health
Increasing temperatures, water scarcity, availability of agricultural land, biodiversity loss and climate change threaten to reverse health gains seen over the last century.
With health insurance at risk, community health centers face cut-backs
Repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, combined with a failure to renew critical funding streams, would result in catastrophic funding losses for community health centers-forcing these safety net providers to cut back on services, lay off staff or shut down clinical sites, according to a report published today.
Study clusters health behavior groups to broaden public health interventions
A new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has used national health statistics and identified how to cluster seven health behavior groups based on smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, physician visits and flu vaccination are associated with mortality.
Tailored preventive oral health intervention improves dental health among elderly
A tailored preventive oral health intervention significantly improved the cleanliness of teeth and dentures among elderly home care clients.
Study finds that people are attracted to outward signs of health, not actual health
Findings published in the journal Behavioral Ecology reveal that skin with yellow and red pigments is perceived as more attractive in Caucasian males, but this skin coloring does not necessarily signal actual good health.
In the January Health Affairs: Brazil's primary health care expansion
The January issue of Health Affairs includes a study that explores a much-discussed issue in global health: the role of governance in improving health, which is widely recognized as necessary but is difficult to tie to actual outcomes.
University of Rochester and West Health Collaborate on d.health Summit 2017
In collaboration with West Health, the University of Rochester is hosting the third annual d.health Summit, a forum for health care and technology leaders, entrepreneurs, senior care advocates and policymakers to exchange ideas, create new partnerships, and foster disruptive technological and process innovations to improve the lives of the nation's aging population.
Study links health literacy to higher levels of health insurance coverage
The federal Affordable Care Act is intended to make it easier for individuals to buy health insurance, but are the uninsured equipped to navigate the choices faced in the insurance marketplace?

Related Health Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...