No approval sought for animal testing, survey shows

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21st July 2015 17:18 - Chemicals

A survey carried out by Echa (European Chemical Agency), found that registrants to REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and No approval sought for animal testing, survey showRestriction of Chemicals), are testing on animals, without prior approval from Echa.

REACH states that registrants are required to gain permission before conducting higher-tier animal tests, by submission of a testing proposal to Echa, before experiments are to be conducted. The Regulation also compels them to consider “whenever possible … means other than vertebrate animal tests”, when generating information for their reports.
The number of new experimental studies has almost tripled since 2011 (from 107 to 295), though when comparing percentages, they seem to have remained at quite a low level (6% compared to 5.5%).

Echa discovered these findings by screening 295 new registrations, presented for the 2013 deadline – the second survey after their previous screening in 2011.  

Out of these 295 instances, 126 produced likely justifications as to why testing had been conducted. The remaining 169 were then contacted by telephone to determine reasons as to why they hadn’t asked for consent.

National enforcement and member state competent authorities have the power to investigate these registrants.  When notifying these organisations, Echa asked them to show them the results of their enquiries.

Echa acknowledge that in many of these instances, it is probable that the registrant was not committing an offence, but was in fact failing to comply to REACH’s standards, because of the absence of permission for a test.

It was discovered that 82 of the tests were justified in not submitting proposals, as they may have been conducted to gain compliance under other laws, such as the EU biocides Regulation.  Also, 88 of the tests, were found to have been conducted by a different authorisation body.

Unfortunately however, in 36 instances no explanation was given at all, and in 50 instances only vague or imprecise reasons were provided, and 15 registrants informed that they had misunderstood REACH requirements.

Although Echa informed The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments of the 126 reasons for non-compliance, the group has asked for clarity, as they admitted that they do not agree with Echa’s valuations of some of the instances. They said:

“In the meantime, regardless of possible explanations, it is now up to national authorities to investigate the tests that were done in their country and ensure the law is properly enforced … this report demonstrates that more needs to be done by industry and the agency, to make it clear to companies how they should ensure that animal testing is a last resort.”

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