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Volume 90 Issue 12 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 19, 2012

Toxicity Tests Sans Animals

Cosmetics firm L’Oreal is working with EPA to validate a high-througput screening system
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Critter Chemistry
News Channels: Environmental SCENE, Analytical SCENE
Keywords: cosmetics, toxicity test, EPA, L’Oréal

Cosmetic company L’Oréal has committed $1.2 million to help EPA’s Office of Research & Development (ORD) advance its high-throughput chemical screening system called ToxCast. As part of the agreement, EPA will test 20 chemicals found in L’Oréal products using ToxCast to determine whether the system can reliably predict the chemicals’ toxicity. The chemicals include dyes and surfactants that are commonly used in cosmetics.

ToxCast was developed to rapidly predict toxicity, EPA says, including cancer and reproductive and developmental effects. It relies on models developed from the results of hundreds of biological assays. The system has been validated with hundreds of pesticides and other chemicals with extensive animal toxicity data. ToxCast “has now gotten to the point of maturity where within the agency we are starting to consider using it in regulatory decisions,” David Dix, acting director of EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology within ORD, said at a March 12 briefing.

“We are testing thousands of chemicals in ToxCast,” Dix noted. “This will allow us to understand how these chemicals interact with the biology of human cells and tissues and to predict the potential hazard,” he said.

The ultimate goal of ToxCast is to reduce the use of time-consuming, animal-intensive toxicity tests, EPA says. “We stopped animal testing of finished products in 1989,” said Patricia Pineau, scientific communications director for L’Oréal. Since then, the company has invested $800 million to promote alternative testing, including the use of reconstructed tissues, she noted. “We are focused on the full replacement of the animal models in all safety evaluations,” she said.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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