Tests for skin irritation (level of damage caused to the skin by a substance) and corrosivity (potential of a substance to cause irreversible damage to the skin) are typically conducted on rabbits using the classic Draize skin test, the lesser-known cousin of its ocular counterpart.The test is done by placing a chemical or chemical mixture on an area where the animal’s skin has been shaved; the skin may be prepared by removing layers of skin to cause abrasions.With adequate commitment and funding, the development of non-animal alternatives in this area promises less expensive and more reliable risk assessment procedures.Alternatives to the Draize eye test include the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability (BCOP) test and the Isolated Chicken Eye Assay (ICE) method; both can be used to determine severe/corrosive categories and to test for eye safety.
The Draize test measures the eye irritancy of chemicals and other products by dropping concentrated amounts of a test substance into an animal’s eye (often albino rabbits, who are docile and inexpensive) and then assessing the eye’s reactions using a subjective numeral score to indicate the level of eye damage and injury—i.e. In addition to redness and ulcers, rabbits also experience bleeding and blindness in these experiments.
The Draize is not consistently reproducible and thus cannot reliably predict human risks.
At the same time, the poor quality of Draize data ironically contributes to difficulties in replacing it.
These tests cause severe pain to the animal and can result in ulcers, bleeding, bloody scabs, and discoloration of the skin.
Skin corrosivity and irritation can be easily measured using systems based on human cell and tissue cultures, such as EPISKIN and Epi Derm—both of which measure cell viability as an endpoint. government that coordinates new and revised safety testing methods, including “alternative test methods that may reduce, refine, or replace the use of animals.” Skin sensitization tests are used to determine if a substance causes an allergic reaction and were typically performed on guinea pigs.
The animals were, for example, force-fed by a tube inserted down the esophagus into the stomach, causing severe discomfort and extreme and unrelenting pain.