Media Centre

PETA Funds Ceetox to Validate Non-Animal Skin Allergy Test

For Immediate Release:
21 June 2011

Contact:
Sandra Smiley +44 (0)207 357 9229, ext 229; SandraS@peta.org.uk

London - In the first move of its kind by a charity, PETA is providing funding to US-based CeeTox, Inc, to begin formal validation (a process to establish the reliability and relevance of a test method) of a non-animal skin allergy test. Skin allergy or sensitisation testing is commonly performed on a wide range of chemicals, including pesticides, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Each test is currently conducted using 32 to 80 guinea pigs or 16 to 60 mice. Chemical substances are repeatedly smeared onto the animals' skin or injected into their bodies before they are killed.

Following an in-depth search for a project with the capacity to deliver the greatest benefit, PETA is contributing more than £70,000 ($120,000 USD) initially to the first phase of the validation study. The total contributions of PETA and its international affiliates to non-animal test development currently top £600,000 ($1 million).

"This donation is important because it puts PETA and its affiliates in a unique position of not only championing the need for new non-animal tests but also providing money to help make it happen. It sets a good example for others to follow", says Tim Mitchell, president of CeeTox, Inc.

"We are excited that PETA has taken this opportunity to apply good science to the protection of people and save a large number of animals from painful experiments," says Alistair Currie, PETA's policy adviser.

The new non-animal test is intended as a full replacement for the animal tests currently in use that take weeks to perform and cost approximately £2,500 to £4,500. The new test will take three to four days to complete and cost half as much as the animal tests.

Validation of this testing method is particularly timely in light of the upcoming ban on sales of cosmetics in Europe that have been tested on animals. As of 2013, cosmetics that have been tested on animals will no longer be able to be marketed in the European Union, putting pressure on cosmetics companies to replace the use of animals in testing if they wish to sell their products in the EU. A European Commission-sponsored report on availability of alternative methods published earlier this year concluded that non-animal methods for skin sensitisation would not be available until 2017. The method funded by PETA is expected to be ready for commercial use far in advance of that timeframe.