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Office-led project

Redundancy in the acute toxicity testing of chemicals

At a glance

Current contacts


  • Reduction
  • Replacement


In collaboration with scientists from industry and regulatory authorities, we have produced a review paper highlighting opportunities to waive requirements for acute toxicity testing of chemicals and use alternative approaches. This review focuses on acute oral, dermal and inhalation toxicity, skin and eye irritation and skin sensitisation - tests commonly required under regulatory schemes for chemicals and agrochemicals. The paper includes analysis of oral and dermal acute toxicity data for pesticides and industrial chemicals. This shows that testing by the dermal route in addition to oral has little or no added value.

We followed this paper with a publication in collaboration with our pharmaceutical industry programme, showing that acute toxicity studies are not used in the assessment of overdose of pharmaceuticals, and are of little value for poisoning from non-pharmaceutical chemicals.

We also participated in the EPAA's Acute Toxicity Task Force. In 2010, the Task Force published a review of the scientific and regulatory drivers for acute toxicity testing, and held a workshop with regulators and industry to discuss the scientific value of this testing.


  1. Creton S et al. (2010) Acute toxicity testing of chemicals opportunities to avoid redundant testing and use alternative approaches. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 40: 50-83. doi: 10.3109/10408440903401511
  2. Chapman K et al. (2010) The value of acute toxicity studies to support the clinical management of overdose and poisoning: A cross-discipline consensus. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 58: 354-359. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2010.07.003
  3. Publication from EPAA acute toxicity task force: Seidle T et al. (2010) Cross-Sector review of drivers and available 3Rs approaches for acute systemic toxicity testing. Toxicological Sciences 116: 382-96. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfq143