2002 Food Chem Toxicol 2002 ;40 (5):573-92
Human & Environmental Safety Division, The Procter & Gamble Co., Miami Valley Laboratories, Cincinnati, OH, USA. [email protected]

Non-animal testing strategies for assessment of the skin corrosion and skin irritation potential of ingredients and finished products

The dermatotoxicologist today is faced with a dilemma. Protection of workers and consumers from skin toxicities (irritation and allergy) associated with exposure to products, and the ingredients they contain, requires toxicological skin testing prior to manufacture, transport, or marketing. Testing for skin corrosion or irritation has traditionally been conducted in animals, particularly in rabbits via the long established Draize test method. However, this procedure, among others, has been subject to criticism, both for its limited predictive capacity for human toxicity, as well as for its use of animals. In fact, legislation is pending in the European Union which would ban the sale of cosmetic products, the ingredients of which have been tested in animals. These considerations, and advancements in both in vitro skin biology and clinical testing, have helped drive an intensive effort among skin scientists to develop alternative test methods based either on in vitro test systems (e.g. using rat, pig or human skin ex vivo, or reconstructed human skin models) or ethical clinical approaches (human volunteer studies). Tools are now in place today to enable a thorough skin corrosion and irritation assessment of new ingredients and products without the need to test in animals. Herein, we describe general testing strategies and new test methods for the assessment of skin corrosion and irritation. The methods described, and utilized within industry today, provide a framework for the practicing toxicologist to support new product development initiatives through the use of reliable skin safety testing and risk assessment tools and strategies.