Ecotoxicological assessment of surface waters: A modular approach integrating in vitro methods

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Nina Schweigert
Rik I. L. Eggen
Beate I. Escher
Patricia Burkhardt-Holm
Renata Behra


The European Commission is planning to put forward drafts for a new chemicals legislation by June 2002. In fulfillment of an Environmental Council Conclusion, Working Groups have been set up for consultation during the ongoing preparatory stage. There, members of the General Directorates Environment and Enterprise discuss relevant topics with representatives from authorities, industry, environmental and animal protection organisations. There is agreement that animal tests shall be reduced to a minimum. However it is still unclear how this goal can best be achieved. In this context, the designing of testing strategies will play a major role. It is explained, why fixed test catalogues should be replaced by flexible tiered testing strategies and how concrete waiving strategies can contribute to avoiding animal tests. Another important aspect is the EU-wide implementation of a clause on the avoidance of duplicate testing, which is already enforced in Germany and Austria. In these Member States, first parties have to provide data from previously performed animal tests to second parties. Finally, it is discussed that the application of new non-animal tests can be promoted, if the revised EU chemicals policy once again contains the legal framework for an EU-specific acceptance of new test methods.

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Schweigert, N., Eggen, R. I. L., Escher, B. I., Burkhardt-Holm, P. and Behra, R. (2002) “Ecotoxicological assessment of surface waters: A modular approach integrating in vitro methods”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 19(Supp1), pp. 30-37. Available at: (Accessed: 14May2021).