Title: Has the 3R's Concept a Future in Ecotoxicology?
Authors: PART PeterCASTANO ArgeliaBENGTSSON Bengt-Erik
Publication Year: 2009
JRC Publication N°: JRC56935
ISSN: 1095-6433
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC56935
Type: Contributions to Conferences
Abstract: The 3Rs approach as formulated by Russel and Birch in 1959 is outlining 3 strategies for reducing the number and the suffering of experimental animals used in research and testing through ¿Replacement, Reduction and Refinement¿. We here discuss if a 3R's based approach can be applied in testing of ecotoxicity of chemicals with the ambition to abolish the use of experimental animals in favour of a battery of alternative methods. The current status of alternatives in aquatic ecotoxicology is reviewed and how well they perform in comparison with current in vivo methods. We conclude that theoretically can alternative methods and approaches replace animal based testing but the way to reach this goal is long. A development of more sophisticated alternative methods is needed focusing on specific and physiologically/toxicologically representative endpoints. We underline the importance to gain more information on toxic mechanisms of chemicals and here will hopefully the rapid developments in the ¿omics¿ area give new possibilities. The issue is how to interpret results from highly refined in vitro systems to ¿ecological relevance¿. The leap is probably not as big as it seems in a first glance.We should not be blinded by ecological ¿fundamentalism¿. The ecosystem is built up by individuals. If the survival and fitness of individuals are compromised the whole system will suffer. The current in vitro methods and particularly and hopefully the future methods have the full potential to protect individuals, and by proper models and assumptions the ecosystem. Email Address for correspondence: peter.part@jrc.it
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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