Chemicals and medicines should be safe for humans, animals and ecosystems. Currently, predominantly animal experiments are used to assess chemical safety. The Dutch government encourages the development of new research methods, preferably without laboratory animals, to use in safety assessment. RIVM works on the development of and advises about these alternatives to animal testing.
Role of RIVM
Safety assessment of chemicals and medicines is regulated at European and global levels. RIVM oversees international laws and regulations applicable to the safety assessment of chemical substances and new methods. RIVM conducts research on the development of 3R and animal-free methods and advises on applying these methods towards reliable safety assessment in national and international committees and working groups. In the context of safety assessment, these methods are called New Approach Methodologies (NAMs). RIVM participates in (inter)national research projects and networks exploring the use of NAMs for safety assessment. Read more about our fields of expertise in various 3R methods and approaches.
Reliable safety assessment with NAMs
An important task of RIVM is to stimulate regulatory acceptance and implementation in legal frameworks of 3R methods and approaches that can be used for the safety assessment of chemicals and medicines. These 3R methods and approaches must meet reliability, robustness and reproducibility criteria. In addition, these approaches need to be relevant and provide the necessary information for the intended regulatory purpose.
RIVM takes two complementing approaches in the development of alternatives to animal testing:
- The 3R approach: the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal experiments, remains an important research topic for RIVM and can contribute to short-term improvements in animal testing.
- Participation in TPI: the Transition Programme for Innovation without the Use of Animals goes beyond the 3R towards entirely replacing animal testing. This contributes to the long-term goal of RIVM towards reliable safety assessment of chemicals and medicines with animal-free innovations.
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