The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) is recruiting new members for its Scientific Advisory Committee. The ESAC acts as a scientific peer-review body that provides EURL ECVAM with opinions on the adequacy and outcome of formal validation studies of alternative methods, typically in the context of regulatory safety assessment.
Eligible applicants must have a postgraduate university degree and at least 10 years of subsequent experience in relevant fields, have sufficient oral and written English fluency, and have not served on the ESAC since 2009. Applicants will be evaluated for their competence in scientific areas relevant to alternative methods development and their experience in regulatory and safety assessment of chemicals, validation practice, analyzing complex information, and providing scientific advice at a national or international level. Applications are due January 31. More information is available on the EURL ECVAM website.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission will hold a “Summer School on Alternative Approaches for Risk Assessment” on May 16-19. The Summer School will be hosted by the Centre’s Chemical Safety and Alternative Methods Unit in Ispra, Italy. Tailored for postgraduate students and young scientists, the Summer School aims to give insight into principles and methodologies of human health and environmental risk assessment from a scientific, regulatory, and industrial perspective with a focus on alternative (non-animal) methods.
Attendance is limited to students and scientists who have completed their Ph.D. or master’s degree within the last four years. Applicants must provide a letter of motivation, including one professional reference, and a poster abstract. Selection of participants (100 maximum) will be based on the clarity, relevance, and quality of the application and the relevance of the Summer School to current area of study or job. Preregistration for the Summer School is open until February 14. More information is available on the JRC website.
A report released January 5 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine makes recommendations on the best ways to incorporate emerging science into risk-based evaluations of chemical safety. The report, “Using 21st Century Science to Improve Risk-related Evaluations”, was prepared at the request of the four Tox21 partner organizations: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new report discusses both the inherent opportunities and the challenges that will need to be met to achieve the vision described in two earlier National Research Council reports, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century” and “Exposure Science in the 21st Century.”
The new report can be read online or downloaded as a free PDF from the National Academies Press website. National Academies Press is also accepting pre-orders for purchase of the paperback edition.
On December 20, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a voluntary pilot program to evaluate the usefulness and acceptability of a mathematical tool that estimates the toxicological classification of a chemical, and published guidance on how pesticide companies can submit data for the program. This program is another step toward EPA’s goal of reducing animal testing by adopting better testing methods, as described in the March 2016 Letter to Stakeholders issued by Office of Pesticide Programs Director Jack Housenger.
The mathematical tool, known as the GHS Mixtures Equation, is used in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Use of the GHS Mixtures Equation can reduce animal use for oral and inhalation toxicity studies of pesticide formulations.
To evaluate the GHS Mixtures Equation, EPA requests submission of acute oral and acute inhalation toxicity study data paired with mathematical calculations (GHS Mixtures Equation data) to support the evaluation of pesticide product formulations. EPA expects that the pilot will run for approximately six months but will begin data analysis sooner if enough data is received.