|BRUSSELS - The European Commission said on Friday it had developed new tests to halve the 1.6 million fish used each year in the testing of toxic chemicals in Europe.|
Chemicals will first be tested on seaweed and water fleas because they have a similiar sensitivity as fish. Experiments will then be carried out on fish only if seaweed and water fleas react to the toxins.
"More than half the fish currently used for testing can be saved using this new approach," the Commission said in a statement.
Laboratory-bred rainbow trout are one of the species used in the experiments.
European Commission researchers at the Joint Research Centre worked with scientists from AstraZeneca Global Safety Health and Environment in Britain to limit the use of fish in chemical testing.
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), which approves new non-animal chemical and cosmetics tests in the EU, has endorsed the new method.
A committee comprised of all members of the 25-nation bloc must now green light the test for it to gain regulatory approval within Europe.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE