Alternative (non-animal) methods for cosmetics testing: current status and future prospects—2010
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The 7th amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive prohibits to put animal-tested cosmetics on the market in Europe after 2013. In that context, the European Commission invited stakeholder bodies (industry, non-governmental organisations, EU Member States, and the Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) to identify scientific experts in five toxicological areas, i.e. toxicokinetics, repeated dose toxicity, carcinogenicity, skin sensitisation, and reproductive toxicity for which the Directive foresees that the 2013 deadline could be further extended in case alternative and validated methods would not be available in time. The selected experts were asked to analyse the status and prospects of alternative methods and to provide a scientifically sound estimate of the time necessary to achieve full replacement of animal testing. In summary, the experts confirmed that it will take at least another 7–9 years for the replacement of the current in vivo animal tests used for the safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients for skin sensitisation. However, the experts were also of the opinion that alternative methods may be able to give hazard information, i.e. to differentiate between sensitisers and non-sensitisers, ahead of 2017. This would, however, not provide the complete picture of what is a safe exposure because the relative potency of a sensitiser would not be known. For toxicokinetics, the timeframe was 5–7 years to develop the models still lacking to predict lung absorption and renal/biliary excretion, and even longer to integrate the methods to fully replace the animal toxicokinetic models. For the systemic toxicological endpoints of repeated dose toxicity, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity, the time horizon for full replacement could not be estimated.