Animal Alternatives in Environmental Risk Assessment Committee

Note: As of 2022, the former Animal Alternatives in ERA and Bioaccumulation Committees have merged to form the Next Generation ERA Committee

Mission Statement

To ensure the development of a sound technical basis for alternative test methods as a means to reduce, refine, or replace standard ecotoxicity test procedures around the globe.

The committee aims to provide a forum to coordinate the debates and best emerging practices of the alternatives and animal model development sciences to meet existing hazard assessment, effluent assessment, risk assessment, classification and labeling, and other regulatory needs.

Working Groups

  • EnviroTox Database and Tools/Ecological Threshold of Toxicological Concern (ecoTTC)

    This group is tasked with developing a strategy to update and augment the EnviroTox database (https://envirotoxdatabase.org) and refine and further develop applicable tools. Ongoing work is focused on development of case studies and updating/augmenting the database. Recent efforts have focused on developing manuscripts to describe and document the approaches and tools within EnviroTox, including a focus on algal acute to chronic ratios as well as PNECs.

  • Effluent Assessment

    Plans for a 2020 meeting with key stakeholders to help develop a comprehensive testing and evaluation plan for effluent NAMs were put on hold due to COVID-19. However, work will progress in 2021 related to sharing of information and development of a template to collect existing effluent information, with plans for an in-person meeting when travel allows. An overview of the research proposal that was developed in 2019 was presented at the 2020 SETAC Europe Virtual Annual Meeting and discussions are ongoing to identify additional funding to support (and potentially expand) the research project.

  • Ecotoxicology Endocrine Toolbox: Alternative Methods

    This team, a collaboration between HESI and NC3Rs, is assessing available in vitro/in silico methods (new approach methodologies [NAMs]) to evaluate chemicals that may act via an endocrine pathway in fish and amphibians.

  • Ecotoxicology Endocrine Toolbox: In Vivo Analysis

    This team, a collaboration between HESI and NC3Rs, is evaluating current in vivo EDC tests in fish and amphibians, focusing on analysis of historical control data. This will involve several efforts related to analysis and communication of available in vivo information. The overall purpose is to provide a foundation upon which new alternative methods will be evaluated and to critically assess existing in vivo test methods.

  • HESI/National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) Workshop Follow-Up Team

    This group is developing a manuscript based on the output and critical discussions from the February 2020 workshop.

  • Weight-of-Evidence in Acute Fish Toxicity Assessment (SWIFT)

    The initial work of this committee focused on the development and scientific issues surrounding the fish embryo test (FET) as an animal alternative. While accepted as an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guideline, uptake and use in regulatory assessments has been hampered due to a lack of interpretational guidance. A new initiative to develop qualitative and quantitative weight-of-evidence frameworks for assessment of acute fish toxicity using a wide range of lines of evidence is proposed. A working group, led by Dr. Adam Lillicrap (NIVA), successfully received European Chemical Industry Council Long-Range Initiative (CEFIC-LRI) funding (€250,000 for 2 years) to develop a Bayesian network model with collaboration from HESI and committee members. The kick-off meeting for the project was held in Spring 2020, and work is underway. HESI will receive a total of $20,000 to support staff time on this project over the next 2 years.

HESI Staff

Steering Team

Committee Publications

Filter

Creation of a Curated Aquatic Toxicology Database: EnviroTox

The HESI Animal Alternatives in Environmental Risk Assessment Committee completed the development of a large, diverse environmental database for the creation of an ecological threshold of toxicological concern (ecoTTC) tool.

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An International Perspective on the Tools and Concepts for Effluent Toxicity Assessments in the Context of Animal Alternatives: Reduction in Vertebrate Use

HESI's Animal Alternatives in ERA Committee published tools and concepts for effluent toxicity assessment in an issue of SETAC's Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The publication discusses a suite of strategies that can be used in a weight of evidence approach to reduce reliance on in vivo fish tests as part of an ...

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Investigating Alternatives to the Fish Early-Life Stage Test: A Strategy for Discovering and Annotating Adverse Outcome Pathways for Early Fish Development

The fish early-life stage (FELS) test (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] test guideline 210) is the primary test used internationally to estimate chronic fish toxicity in support of ecological risk assessments and chemical management programs.

Read more

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