Milestones in Non-animal Toxicity Testing

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Milestones in Non-animal Toxicity Testing

Last updated: February 24, 2016

The following are some of the key milestones in the decades-long, global pursuit of alternatives to animal testing:

  • 1969

    Founding of the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) in the UK

  • 1981

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council decision regarding the Mutual Acceptance of Data; Founding of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)

  • 1986

    EU Directive 86/609 for the protection of animals used for experimentation and other scientific purposes, which stipulates that: “An experiment shall not be performed if another scientifically satisfactory method of obtaining the result sought, not entailing the use of an animal, is reasonably and practicably available”

  • 1989

    Founding of the German Centre for the Documentation and Evaluation of Alternatives to Animal Experiments (ZEBET)

  • 1991

    European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) is established in 1991 pursuant to requirement in Directive 86/609/EEC that the European Commission (EC) and its member states actively support the development, validation, and acceptance of methods to replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals in laboratories

  • 1993

    US National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act calls for emphasis on alternatives;

    CAAT sponsors the first World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Baltimore, MD, which remains the primary international scientific conference series dedicated to the 3Rs

  • 1994

    Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) is established as ad hoc committee in 1994 in response to mandate under the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993

  • 1996

    Second World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences is sponsored by the University of Utrecht;

    OECD convenes the first international validation conference

  • 1997

    ICCVAM is established as an ad hoc standing committee;

    ECVAM endorses first cell-based toxicity test method, the 3T3 neutral red uptake phototoxicity test

  • 1998

    Three in vitro skin corrosion test methods endorsed by ECVAM;

    National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) is established in 1998 to provide administrative, technical, and scientific support to ICCVAM

  • 1999

    Third World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences is held in Italy

  • 2000

    Passage of ICCVAM Authorization Act;

    ICCVAM endorses its first in vitro method, the Corrositex® assay for assessing skin corrosion

  • 2001

    Congress directs the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to spend $4 million on alternatives;

    OECD Test Guideline 401(oral lethal dose) is deleted from international guidelines

  • 2002

    OECD Test Guidelines Program adopts the first formally validated in vitro test methods;

    OECD establishes a Validation Management Group dedicated to non-animal methods;

    Fourth World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciencesis held in New Orleans

  • 2003

    7th Amendment of the EU Cosmetics Directive creates deadlines for banning animal testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients

  • 2004

    UK National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) is established;

    EU ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products as of September 11, 2004;

    OECD test guidelines for in vitro 3T3 NRU Phototoxicity Test and for in vitro skin dermal penetration test methods

  • 2005

    Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM), located in the National Institute of Health Sciences, Tokyo, is established in 2005;

    US National Toxicology Program (NTP) adopts a 21st Century Roadmap emphasizing mechanistic, non-animal studies;

    Fifth World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences is held in Berlin;

    EU regulators and industry launch the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)

  • 2006

    EU provides more than 80 million Euros for targeted, multiyear 3Rs research projects;

    International task force of pesticide producers and regulators proposes a testing strategy that could reduce animal use in reproductive and developmental toxicity studies by up to 70 percent

  • 2007

    US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel calls for a fundamental paradigm shift in regulatory toxicology in its report, Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: a Vision and a Strategy;

    ECVAM endorses the EPISKINTM skin irritation test as a full replacement for rabbit skin irritation tests;

    ICCVAM and ECVAM endorse two enucleated eye methods for classifying ocular severe/corrosive materials;

    6th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences is held in Japan

  • 2008

    ICCVAM releases its five-year plan, which identifies four priority areas for alternatives test method development;

    US Federal agencies announce collaboration on new high throughput toxicity screening initiative;

    Two additional in vitro methods are endorsed for skin irritation testing;

    AltTox.org celebrates its one-year anniversary in December 2008

  • 2009

    EU ban on animal-based acute testing of cosmetic ingredients for all human health effects as of March 11, 2009;

    US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopts the NAS vision for evaluating the toxicity of chemicals in its new strategic plan;

    Korean Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM) is established in 2009;

    International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) memorandum of cooperation is signed between US, Canada, Japan, and EU to coordinate recommendations on alternative methods to speed their adoption and reduce animal testing;

    50th anniversary of the Russell and Burch book that launched the 3Rs, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique;

    7th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences is held (WC7) in Rome, Italy

  • 2011

    8th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WC8) in Montreal, Canada;

    Brazilian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (BrCVAM) is formally established in 2011;

    Activities of ECVAM are assumed by the European Union Reference Laboratory on Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) in 2011

  • 2013

    As of March 11, 2013, cosmetics that contain ingredients tested on animals are banned from sale in the European Union;

    As of July 11, 2013, Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 replaces the Cosmetics Directive;

    To meet requirements of the new European Cosmetics Regulation, cosmetic products are prohibited to be placed on the EU market where final formulation, ingredients, or finished product have been subject to animal testing

  • 2014

    9th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WC9) is held in Prague, Czech Republic

  • 2015

    UK government announces ban on the testing of household products on animals

Please contribute your suggested additions to this timeline by sending them to: info@alttox.org

Author(s)/Contributor(s):
Sherry L. Ward, PhD, MBA, AltTox Contributing Editor

AltTox Editorial Board reviewer(s):
George Daston, PhD
Catherine E. Willett, PhD