The Swedish Chemicals Agency has developed a strategy for less animal testing

Under the authority of the Government, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has developed a strategy for how the Agency should contribute to reducing, refining and replacing animal testing with other testing methods. The Swedish Chemicals Agency is working actively to promote the development and usage of alternative methods.

“The new strategy strengthens our conditions for working in the long-term on driving the development and usage of methods which can replace animal testing. We should work actively on animal testing issues within the EU and on an international and national level,” says Henrik Appelgren, investigator at the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

In the appropriation directions of 2016, the Swedish Chemicals Agency was commissioned by the Government to prepare a strategy for work on the “Three Rs.” The Three Rs stand for replace, reduce and refine. This means that, as far as possible, animal testing should be replaced with methods which do not involve the use of animals, that the number of laboratory animals should be restricted and that the methods should be refined to reduce the animals’ suffering, for example, through pain relief and better livestock farming.

There are a number of methods which can be used severally or in different combinations in order to reduce the use of animal tests. This entails, among other things, using in vitro tests on cells or areas of cells, mathematical models and existing available laboratory animal results. The approval of alternative test methods may take several years, which means that the work on issues related to the Three Rs needs to be conducted with a long-term approach.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency is working actively on several different levels for the development, usage and acceptance of alternative test methods. Within the EU, as far as possible the Swedish Chemicals Agency works to ensure that assessments of the properties of substances are conducted by using data from validated, alternative test methods. On an international level the Agency participates in, among other things, a review of classification criteria for health risks and on adapting them to information produced through alternative test methods.

“Pursuant to many legislations and data requirements, animal testing will continue to be a source of data in order to assess the risks of chemical substances, but the development of alternative methods has good potential and in the long run can contribute to streamlining of the risk assessments. It is important to continue working based on the Three Rs principle for development and assessment of test methods within both the EU and OECD,” says Henrik Appelgren.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Three Rs strategy will be presented to the Government in the Agency’s annual report of 2016.

Read the report (PDF 633 kB, in Swedish, summary in English on page 7) , 633 kB.

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Henrik Appelgren, investigator, +46 8 519 41 248

The Swedish Chemicals Agency’s press service, +46 8 519 41 200,

E-mail addresses of the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s employees are written as follows: