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Ecotoxicity testing represents an important source of animal use for safety assessment, but has historically received less attention in terms of the 3Rs than testing for human safety. The NC3Rs current work in this area focuses on the use of fish in the agrochemical industry.
We have published a survey of seven major European agrochemical companies which shows that chronic toxicity testing of pesticide products in fish is rarely if ever scientifically justified. It is intended that the findings from this survey will be submitted for consideration during the revision of the European guidance on aquatic toxicity testing of pesticides, which is expected to commence in 2011.
In addition, we have published the results on a data analysis exercise demonstrating that for bioconcentration studies with plant protection products, the number of fish used per study can be reduced by approximately one third by testing at only one concentration without affecting the overall conclusion of the study.
The Centre is also working with experts from industry and regulatory authorities to support the use of the threshold approach for fish acute toxicity testing, a reduction and refinement strategy, for the evaluation of formulated plant protection products.
Reducing the number of fish in bioconcentration studies for plant protection products by reducing the number of test concentrations:
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