John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Advancing the 3Rs in regulatory ecotoxicology: A pragmatic cross‐sector approach


The ecotoxicity testing of chemicals for prospective environmental safety assessment is an area where a high number of vertebrates are used across a variety of industry sectors. Refining, reducing and replacing the use of animals such as fish, birds and amphibians for this purpose addresses the ethical concerns and the increasing legislative requirements to consider alternative test methods. Members of the UK‐based National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) Ecotoxicology Working Group, consisting of representatives from academia, government organisations and industry, have worked together over the past six years to provide evidence bases to support and advance the application of the 3Rs in regulatory ecotoxicity testing. The group recently held a workshop to identify the areas of testing, demands and drivers that will impact on the future of animal use in regulatory ecotoxicology. As a result of these discussions we have developed a pragmatic approach to prioritise and realistically address key opportunity areas, to enable progress towards the vision of a reduced reliance on the use of animals in this area of testing. This paper summarises the findings of this exercise and proposes a pragmatic strategy towards our key long‐term goals – the incorporation of reliable alternatives to whole organism testing into regulations and guidance, and a culture shift towards the reduced reliance on vertebrate toxicity testing in routine environmental safety assessment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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