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We are delighted to report that, following submissions by the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), animal tests for four substances have been either rejected by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or withdrawn by the company involved. We estimate this has saved up to 7,000 animals who would otherwise have suffered and died in a total of five toxicity (poisoning) tests.
With two of the substances, one of which was a cosmetic ingredient, the company withdrew the testing proposal. For the other two, the ECHA rejected the test in line with suggestions made by our experts. The substances were industrial chemicals used to make rubber and adhesives. In both instances the company had proposed to do a test that was not strictly required by the legislation. The ECHA took the right approach and rejected the testing proposal as there was not yet evidence that the testing was necessary. The comments submitted by the ECEAE were noted in its final decision.
The tests were primarily two generation reproductive toxicity tests that use up to 2,000 animals each. This is because the test involves force-feeding the substance to female rats who are then made pregnant and the substance fed to the resulting offspring until they also have their offspring. The test costs hundreds of thousands of euros.
The ECEAE is the only organisation pro-actively involved in working to stop animal tests under REACH from taking place with legal and scientific submissions. To do this, we have employed a dedicated group of scientists whose task is to unearth evidence that enables us to challenge animal testing proposals submitted by companies to ECHA. Our experts look at each testing proposal in turn and present alternatives - in the form of non-animal testing methods or sourcing existing data on chemicals that have already been tested. It is an intense and time consuming task, involving hundreds of testing proposals and many hours of research but we are pleased to report our efforts are making a difference for animals.
We have also successfully applied to ‘intervene’ in two animal test cases at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Such interventions are only allowed by organisations with such expertise and reputation that they can bring real value to the case. This is highly significant as these represent the first such animal testing appeal cases to be heard.