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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Assessment of the Eye Irritating Properties of Chemicals by Applying Alternatives to the Draize Rabbit Eye Test: The Use of QSARs and In Vitro Tests for the Classification of Eye Irritation

Ingrid Gerner, Manfred Liebsch and Horst Spielmann

Huggins has reported on the current situation relating to the development of alternatives to the Draize eye irritation test with rabbits, and an ECVAM Working Group have reviewed the efforts needed in order to replace this animal test within the next 10 years by using the results of non-animal assessment methods. Our report reviews regulatory experience gained over the last 20 years with the EU chemicals notification procedure with respect to the assessment of eye lesions observed in Draize tests. The nature of eye lesions and their importance for classification and labelling of possible hazards to human eyes are evaluated and discussed, with a view to promoting the development of specific in vitro assays which are able to discriminate between eye damage, moderate eye irritation, and minor irritation effects which are completely reversible within a few days. Structural alerts for the prediction of eye irritation/corrosion hazards to be classified and labelled according to international classification criteria, are presented, which should be validated in accordance with internationally agreed (OECD) principles for (Q)SAR system validation. Physicochemical limit values for prediction of the absence of any eye irritation potential relevant for human health can make available a definition of the applicability domains of alternative methods developed for the replacement of the Draize eye irritation test.