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Editorial: REACH Testing Requirements Must Not be Driven by Reproductive Toxicity Testing in Animals

Spielmann, H. and Vogel, R.

In the new European Union (EU) policy for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH), the European Commission (EC) proposes that 30,000 existing chemicals should be evaluated within a period of 15 years. Data on the hazardous properties of chemicals must be provided by industry, which must also cover the costs, if additional testing is required. There is an agreement within the EC that additional toxicity testing should in the first place rely on non-animal in silico predictions and in vitro tests, for both financial and animal welfare reasons. To put the REACH policy into a realistic perspective, advisers to national governments of the EU Member States, from the EU Commission and industry have published estimates on the cost of the additional testing which is likely to be necessary. Assuming a worst case scenario, in which all the existing chemicals will have to be tested in vivo for all the required endpoints, more than 50 million test animals may have to be used, and reproductive toxicology will account for up to 70% of them.