Testing of chemicals

OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals


The OECD Guidelines are a unique tool for assessing the potential effects of chemicals on human health and the environment. Accepted internationally as standard methods for safety testing, the Guidelines are used by professionals in industry, academia and government involved in the testing and assessment of chemicals (industrial chemicals, pesticides, personal care products, etc.). These Guidelines are regularly updated with the assistance of thousands of national experts from OECD member countries. OECD Test Guidelines are covered by the Mutual Acceptance of Data, implying that data generated in the testing of chemicals in an OECD member country, or a partner country having adhered to the Decision, in accordance with OECD Test Guidelines and Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), be accepted in other OECD countries and partner counties having adhered to the Decision, for the purposes of assessment and other uses relating to the protection of human health and the environment.


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Test Guidelines that have been deleted or replaced by updated versions

These obsolete Test Guidelines have been deleted in order to allow national/regional regulations that make reference to specific Test Guidelines and versions to be updated accordingly.  They should not be used for new testing. They are included here because it may be useful to consult them in the framework of the assessment of substances based on old study reports. The guaranties of Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) would not apply if these Test Guidelines were used for new testing.

In November 2012, the Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology decided on a transition period of 18 months, between the Council Decision and the effective deletion, for Test Guidelines that have been updated or deleted. For more information, please read the presentation: Update of Test Guidelines and the Mutual Acceptance of Data.

Terminology in OECD Test Guidelines to designate what is tested

In June 2013, the Joint Meeting agreed that where possible, a more consistent use of the term “test chemical” describing what is being tested should now be applied in new and updated Test Guidelines. However, it is important to note that previously adopted OECD Test Guidelines will still use the terms "test item", "test compound", "test substance" or other similar term to describe what is being tested.”

The intention of this proposal is not to provide a new definition of the term “chemical(s)”, but rather to be consistent with the UN definition of it when applicable, i.e. in Test Guidelines that make reference to the UN GHS for Classification and Labelling where “chemical” means “substance and mixture”.

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA): Test Guidelines with components covered by MTA

Development of Test Guidelines for in vitro methods is increasing. For most of these in vitro test methods, a MTA is required with respect to the cell line or other proprietary components of the test method. A MTA is generally signed between a provider and a recipient/user. It may include a number of terms and conditions.

MTAs may be necessary to obtain components to conduct testing according to some Test Guidelines; however, they should not include terms or conditions that would prevent or limit availability of cell lines or other components of these Test Guidelines. It is essential that the MTAs:

  • Allow the use of the MTA-covered components for testing in member countries for purposes of assessment and other uses relating to the protection of man and the environment.
  • Allow commercial contract laboratories to access the MTA-covered components for the purposes given under point 1.

Furthermore, MTAs should ideally refer to the Test Guidelines concerned to avoid any doubts whether users of the OECD Test Guidelines can obtain the MTA-covered components.



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