Although in the past, tests to evaluate health hazards of chemicals were carried out exclusively in laboratories (in vivo), today these tests are replaced more and more by internationally validated alternative methods.
As an OECD member, Switzerland, in the scope of the test guideline programme, participates in the development of animal-free experimental methods.
In the framework of the legislation on chemical products, the dangerous properties of new substances subject to notification are determined by a series of tests that are drawn up principally as a function of the quantities of substance placed on the market (ChemO, Art. 6). The dangerous properties of mixtures, with the exception of physico-chemical properties, are principally derived from the dangers and the concentration of the substances that make up the composition of the preparation, but in certain cases the tests may be helpful to better characterise a danger.By referring to the REACH Regulation for the description of tests to be carried out, the Chemicals Ordinance adheres to the principle that tests on laboratory animals may only be carried out if no other alternative method is applicable and then only if the test is scientifically justified.
Irritation/corrosive tests on skin and eyes
Numerous tests in vitro have been developed with a view to phasing out irritation or corrosive testing on the skin and eyes of laboratory animals. In view of the limitations associated with the interpretation of tests in vitro, scientists have developed a strategy entitled IATA (Integrated Approach for Testing and Assessment), involving a plurality of parameters to be studied.
Accordingly, for notifiable substances, the irritation and corrosivity on skin can be determined solely by alternative methods.
Further information can be found under ‘Documents‘.
For the assessment of the effects on the eye, there are likewise numerous validated in vitro methods available today which can be used in the scope of an IATA, such that here as well in most cases alternative methods can be exclusively used
Further information can be found under ‘Links’.
Application of Alternative Methods in the Regulatory Assessment of Chemicals Safety related to Human Skin Corrosion & Irritation (PDF, 1 MB, 21.12.2016)
Last modification 14.02.2017