Sass, N. Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, Alabama, USA.

Evidence of acute toxicity for specific materials was originally provided using large numbers of animals in tests that often resulted in pain, suffering, and/or death to the experimental subjects. Recent research has been directed toward development of alternatives that remove or significantly reduce these effects while providing data indicative of the acute toxicity of the test material. The design of the original tests and alternatives to tests based on lethality (LD50) (e.g., fixed dose and up-and-down methods), dermal tests (e.g., neutral red uptake, Corrositex(r), Epiderm(r), or transcutaneous electrical resistance (TER)), and ocular tests (e.g., corneal opacity, chorioallantoic membrane assay (CAM) or Eyetex(r)) are discussed. The utility of the results that can be obtained using the alternative methods is compared with those obtained from the original assay. In many cases, combinations of tests may be required to provide results equivalent to the original. The concepts of tiered testing for dermal and ocular irritation and corrosion testing are addressed. The Guidance on Humane Endpoints of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is reviewed with suggestions for steps that may be employed to achieve the “3 Rs” of Russell and Burch.


3 Rs, Acute toxicity, Corrosion, Corrosivity, Corrosivity testing, Dermal corrosion, EpiDerm, Eye irritation, Humane endpoints, OECD, Ocular irritancy testing, Ocular irritation, Ocular irritation testing, Skin corrosion, Skin corrosivity, TER, Toxicity testing

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