Robinson, M.K., Osborne, R., Perkins, M.A. The Procter & Gamble Company, Miami Valley Laboratories, Cincinnati, Ohio 45253-8707.

Prior to the manufacture, transport, and marketing of chemicals or products, it is critical to assess their potential for skin toxicity (corrosion or irritation), thereby protecting the worker and consumer from adverse skin effects due to intended or accidental skin exposure. Traditionally, animal testing procedures have provided the data needed to assess the more severe forms of skin toxicity, and current regulations may require animal test data before permission can be obtained to manufacture, transport, or market chemicals or the products that contain them. In recent years, the use of animals to assess skin safety has been opposed by some as inhumane and unnecessary. The conflicting needs of the industrial toxicologist to (1) protect human safety, (2) comply with regulations, and (3) reduce animal testing have led to major efforts to develop alternative, yet predictive, test methods. A variety of in vitro skin corrosion test methods have been developed and several have successfully passed initial international validation. These have included skin or epidermal equivalent assays that have been shown to distinguish corrosive from noncorrosive chemicals. These skin/epidermal equivalent assays have also been modified and used to assess skin irritation potential relative to existing human exposure test data. The data show a good correlation between in vitro assay data and different types of human skin irritation data for both chemicals and consumer products. The effort to eliminate animal tests has also led to the development of a novel human patch test for assessment of acute skin irritation potential. A case study shows the benefits of in vitro and human skin irritation tests compared to the animal tests they seek to replace, and strategies now exist to adequately assess human skin irritation potential without the need to rely on animal test methods.


Corrosion, Corrosivity, Corrosivity testing, Cutaneous irritancy, Cutaneous irritation, Cutaneous toxicity, Dermal corrosion, Dermal irritancy, Dermal irritancy testing, Dermal irritation, EpiDerm, IL-1a, In Vitro, International validation, MTT, MTT ET-50 tissue viability assay, MTT assay, Pre-validation, Prevalidation, Reduce animal testing, Skin corrosion, Skin corrosivity, Skin corrosivity, Skin irritancy, Skin irritation, Skin toxicity, Validation

Request a copy of this paper, click here.