Roadmap to a Better Method Workshops

The Physicians Committee

Roadmap to a Better Method Workshops

The Roadmap to a Better Method workshops are intended to gather pesticide regulators, toxicologists, and experts from the United States and Canada with the aim of collectively agreeing to take steps toward replacing animal tests with nonanimal methods. In May 2012, PCRM co-hosted the first workshop, which focused on the dermal absorption test. Skin absorption tests measure the amount of chemical that is absorbed through the skin. This test uses and kills approximately 120 rats.

Along with top experts from the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Dermal Technology Laboratory, BASF, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, An-Ex, and Bayer, PCRM demonstrated viable alternatives for this test, including human cadaver skin and leftover surgical skin specimens. In this workshop pesticide regulatory agencies saw firsthand the superiority of in vitro methods.

The development of a harmonized in vitro protocol for skin absorption will allow comparable data to be collected and shared in order to facilitate faster implementation of a human-relevant test protocols. Attendees of the workshop worked toward an agreement on a testing protocol that the agencies could accept—paving the way for in vitro methods to replace animal methods.

The workshop results will have a strong influence on other animal-based tests. For example, if a compound does not pass through the skin, it need not be applied to animals’ skin to test for reproductive toxicity resulting from dermal absorption.

A series of regulator education workshops is planned to ensure in vitro alternatives are implemented, and agencies and companies remain committed to replacing animal tests. The next Roadmap to a Better Method workshop is scheduled for spring 2013 and will focus on inhalation toxicity testing.