The New EU REACH Regulation Has Finally Been Adopted: Is This the End of the Campaign Trail… or Just the Beginning?
The final EU REACH legislation has recently been adopted. This article considers the progress that has been made toward reducing the numbers of animals likely to be required to fulfil the testing requirements, and also considers the benefits to animal welfare and science that have arisen since the original REACH system proposals were published in 2003. Several positive changes have been made, including: the use of exposure-based testing; the requirement for scientific justification of any proposed animal testing; mandatory data sharing; and the fact that the EU is to take responsibility for the development and validation of alternative methods. While these changes are to be commended, there is still much room for improvement, particularly with respect to the adoption of integrated testing strategies that make maximum use of non-animal approaches to expedite the risk assessment process of existing chemicals, with the use of refined and updated animal tests only as a last resort.