Reducing Animal Numbers in Regulatory Testing by International Harmonization of Test Guidelines

For the past 30 to 40 years, toxicity testing has been developed empirically in many laboratories worldwide. For a given specific area of toxicology - such as eye and skin irritation or embryo toxicity - the standard animal procedures have differed considerably between countries, in terms of species, regimen of treatment, and numbers of animals per treatment group. In addition, there were different ways in which information from specific animal tests for classification and labeling (e.g., the Draize eye test) was used by regulatory agencies in various countries, and even by different agencies of one country.

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