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Avoiding chronic fish toxicity testing

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May 17, 2016

EURL ECVAM releases its report on extrapolation approaches to avoid chronic fish toxicity testing on the basis of existing aquatic toxicity data

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has just released its report presenting scientific options for avoiding chronic fish testing on the basis of existing data and extrapolation approaches.

The assessment of aquatic toxicity is an important component of the environmental hazard and risk assessment of all types of chemicals, and is therefore included in several pieces of EU chemicals legislation. Aquatic toxicity refers to the effects of chemicals on organisms living in the water and is usually determined by testing on organisms representing the three trophic levels, i.e. plants (or algae), invertebrates (crustaceans such as Daphnia spp.) and vertebrates (fish). Whereas acute aquatic toxicity testing is a basic requirement in most pieces of EU chemicals legislation, chronic aquatic toxicity testing may be required on a case by case basis, for example when the outcome of the acute testing indicates a risk, or when long-term exposure to the chemical is expected.

In the light of the EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and the EURL ECVAM strategy to replace, reduce and refine the use of fish in aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation testing, this report explores whether interspecies extrapolations and acute to chronic relationships could be used to scientifically support the waiving of chronic fish tests. For this purpose, acute and chronic toxicity data for Daphnia and fish were extracted from various databases and analysed to identify possible relationships taking into consideration different mode of actions.

The results of this analysis indicate that several types of aquatic toxicity data can be used to assess the potential for chronic fish toxicity. In particular, interspecies extrapolations based on invertebrate (Daphnia) data, and acute-to-chronic extrapolations from existing acute fish toxicity data, are recommended as a means of deriving information on chronic fish toxicity without the need to perform additional fish tests.

Download the report:

"Scientific options for avoiding chronic fish testing on the basis of existing data and extrapolation approaches"

Avoiding chronic fish toxicity testing report