OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals
Hundreds of new chemicals, which are used among others as industrial chemicals, pesticides, food additives, biotechnology products and pharmaceuticals, reach the world market each year and may require safety testing in most parts of the world. In addition, regulations exist or are under way, both at national and international levels, that call for (additional) testing and assessment of chemical substances already on the market.
Since 1981, in recognition of the advantages of internationally agreed test methods, OECD member and partner countries have developed the OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals in order to:
• enhance the validity and international acceptance of test data;
• make the best use of available resources in both governments and industry;
• avoid the unnecessary use of laboratory animals;
• minimise non-tariff trade barriers.
In addition, OECD countries have adopted the Decision of the Council concerning the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) in the assessment of chemicals. This Decision requires that the 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.
The OECD Test Guidelines:
• Cover safety testing of chemicals in its broadest sense with respect to physical-chemical properties, effects on biotic systems (ecotoxicity), environmental fate (degradation/accumulation), health effects (toxicity), and other areas such as pesticide residue chemistry and efficacy testing of biocides.
• Are internationally accepted as standard methods for safety testing and provide the common basis for the mutual acceptance of test data.
• Are essential for professionals working in industry, academia and government on the testing and assessment of chemical substances.
• Aim to reflect the current state-of-the-art in hazard identification and characterisation testing.
• Are updated in order to keep pace with progress in science, and to address animal welfare concerns.
OECD Test Guidelines may be applicable to and may be required for different types of chemicals, e.g. mono-constituent or multi-constituent substances, mixtures of chemicals, pesticide formulations, cosmetic products etc., depending on the legislation and depending on whether they provide relevant results for the intended regulatory purpose. Also, in accordance with the OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice, if a Test Guideline is used for the testing of multi-constituent substances, mixtures, formulations or products, the composition should as far as possible be characterised, and the substance specific properties of constituents should as far as possible be described, as it is the case for mono-constituent substances.
Each Test Guideline is available separately online: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/books