In a statement of 23rd September 2015, ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency) announced the closure of a complaint against its role in evaluating testing proposals on vertebrate animals following an agreement with the European Ombudsman.
The ECHA will now require future registrants wishing to submit new proposals on animal testing to evidence beforehand that they have considered alternative methods. In exchange, the Agency must provide information enabling them to avoid the practice.
Reasons for the complaint
The complaint was made against the ECHA for refusing to reject animal testing proposals by several non-governmental organisations on the grounds that the proposals could have included alternative methods not involving animal testing.
After studying the complaint, the European Ombudsman concluded that ECHA’s interpretation of its own role was too strict and did not take into consideration that the avoidance of animal testing was one of the Regulation’s guiding principles.
ECHA’s proposed solutions
- Require all registrants to show that they have tried to avoid animal testing.
- Provide registrants with all the information at its disposal which could allow them to avoid animal testing.
Implementation of the proposals
ECHA will consult with the European Commission and the competent authorities of the Member States on how to implement the proposals.
The European Ombudsman closed the complaint filed against ECHA but asked it to report on how it had implemented the proposals by 11th March 2016.
In a press release dated 30th June 2014, the ECHA published the conclusions of the European Ombudsman concerning the Agency’s interpretation on animal testing.
The Ombudsman concluded that an incomplete registration dossier may comply with REACH Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of 18th December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals and Restriction of Chemicals), if the safety of the substance was previously established during compliance checks.
Indeed, some tests may not be required if compliance checks demonstrated the safety of the substance. If this is not the case, then further testing may be requested from the registrant.
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