Comment - Integrated Decision-tree Testing Strategies for Environmental Toxicity With Respect to the Requirements of the EU REACH Legislation
Christina Grindon, Robert Combes, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod
Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME recently conducted a research project sponsored by Defra on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with the REACH system. This paper focuses on the prospects for using alternative methods (both in vitro and in silico) for environmental (aquatic) toxicity testing. The manuscript reviews tests based on fish cells and cell lines, fish embryos, lower organisms, and the many expert systems and QSARs for aquatic toxicity testing. Ways in which reduction and refinement measures can be used are also discussed, including the Upper Threshold Concentration — Step Down (UTC) approach, which has recently been retrospectively validated by ECVAM and subsequently endorsed by the ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC). It is hoped that the application of this approach could reduce the number of fish used in acute toxicity studies by around 65–70%. Decisiontree style integrated testing strategies are also proposed for acute aquatic toxicity and chronic toxicity (including bioaccumulation), followed by a number of recommendations for the future facilitation of aquatic toxicity testing with respect to environmental risk assessment.