Solvay provides innovative products for a wide variety of uses and a large number of users. A proper understanding of products’ hazards is indispensable for the Group’s to continue its activities and protect users, the general public, Solvay personnel, and the environment. Society expresses a continuing demand for new, better, and safer chemicals and plastics. There is a growing demand for product risk and hazard assessments by regulatory authorities and the public which, in turn, requires testing, both with and without using animals.

Management approach

All Solvay businesses are required to adhere to the Solvay Animal Care and Use Standard. A Solvay corporate committee is in charge of monitoring compliance with the standard.

Solvay’s Animal Care and Use Standard is based on the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement). All studies are performed by Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC)-accredited laboratories. This worldwide organization sets the quality standards for testing laboratories and ensures responsible and humane treatment of laboratory animals.

Prior to initiation, all studies commissioned by Solvay are subject to an ethical assessment at the local or national level by the laboratory conducting the study. Once a study is underway, Solvay staff monitor the execution and quality of the studies and conduct a continuing qualification and evaluation program for the laboratories in place.

Typically, tests are carried out once, on individual substances. Those substances are then mixed, used and/or sold by Solvay for the manufacture of a wide variety of final products and applications.

Indicators

To comply with existing and future chemical regulations, Solvay continued to commission animal tests in 2017. When tests are needed, Solvay commits to the greatest care, professionalism, animal welfare, and humaneness.

2017 Animal testing

 

 

Number of studies

 

Number of vertebrates

Registration obligations (EU, China, Korea)

 

28

 

2,943

Additional product safety questions (toxicity, classification)

 

32

 

410

Total

 

60

 

3,353

In total, 3,353 vertebrate animals (77% rats, 10% mice, 2% rabbits, 8% fish, and 3% guinea pigs) were used in 2017. The number of tests on vertebrate animals is driven by the number of studies for registration obligations. In 2017, there was a significant decrease in registration obligations (from 56 in 2016 to 28). The number of tests on vertebrate animals also decreased, from 11,002 in 2016 to 2,943.

All studies comply with international standards, and care was taken to avoid future duplication of testing by simultaneously addressing the requirements of several countries or regulations in a single study.

Limiting the number of studies

Solvay adheres to the objective outlined in Europe’s REACH regulation, i.e. promoting non-animal testing and the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal testing.

In 2017, 84% of vertebrate animals tested were used in the framework of the REACH Regulation.

The increased regulatory acceptance of in vitro tests for classification purposes has allowed Solvay to replace a number of in vivo studies with alternative tests, especially in the field of skin irritation, eye irritation, and skin sensitization.

Another alternative to in vivo testing is the use of in silico methodologies, which predict substance properties based on existing data on other similar substances (structure-activity relationships). Solvay has continued to apply this methodology as the first-tier approach when new information on a substance is required. Moreover, a three-year project was launched in 2017 in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg (France) to reinforce this capability by further developing such approaches, using in-house and Solvay-specific data.