DOC 043 : Contact Sensitisation: Classification According to Potency: A Commentary | July 2003
The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) has recently published a report (Technical Report No 87; 2003; Appendix 1) that addresses the opportunities that now exist for the classification of contact allergens according to their relative skin sensitising potency. That report also contains recommendations regarding the configuration of classification schemes based upon the use of data deriving from OECD guideline methods for skin sensitisation testing. In parallel with the work of ECETOC, an Expert Working Group on Sensitisation commissioned by the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) undertook a similar task, and a draft document was issued by the ECB (Appendix). The ECETOC report and the report of the ECB Expert Working Group have in common a desire to refine the way contact allergens are classified based upon (a) an appreciation that such chemicals may differ very substantially with regard to their skin sensitising potency, and (b) the availability now of experimental approaches that allow assessment of relative skin sensitising activity. Where the reports differ is in the details of how such classification may be achieved in practice – and specifically with regard to models based on animal test data for assigning chemical allergens to different potency categories.