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Certain chemicals can cause occupational and consumer health problems, such as allergic contact dermatitis and allergic asthma and/or rhinitis. It is thus important to have reliable and accurate methods available to enable the prospective identification of such chemicals. No ideal method exists for the assessment of sensitisation potential and researchers are continuing to work towards identifying improved ways of predicting this property. The validation of such predictive tests requires an established list of reference substances with well-recognised skin and respiratory sensitising potential. This report recommends positive and negative controls for use in the assessment of new in vivo and in vitro predictive tests for skin or respiratory sensitisation potential.