June 24, 2021

International Organization Publishes New Test Guideline on Skin Sensitization

A new type of test guideline for chemicals intended to provide a non-animal approach to identifying potential skin sensitizers has been published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international organization focused on improving the prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being of people around the world. Development of the guideline was sponsored by the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), and it was developed in a joint effort between OECD, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Health Canada, and other U.S. government agencies. The June 16 issue of NICEATM’s e-newsletter explains that “validation against a curated set of human data indicates that this approach predicts human skin sensitization hazard better than the accepted animal test.”

The new guideline, Defined Approaches for Skin Sensitization, “uses several types of combined information to provide chemical safety information,” OECD’s website states. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the guideline is the first to include advice on computer predictions with tools such as the QSAR Toolbox, a free software application intended to support reproducible and transparent chemical hazard assessment. The QSAR Toolbox was co-developed by ECHA and OECD.

OECD’s guidelines are intended to be used by government, industry, and independent laboratories to identify and characterize potential hazards of chemicals. The guideline on skin sensitization is the latest to be added to OECD’s guidelines that address health effects. Interested individuals can download the new guideline as a PDF or choose to read it via OECD’s website.

Related: An article published in the November 2019 issue of The Synergist explores the topic of dermal sensitizers and skin sensitization.