Appeal reverses ECHA call for animal tests


An appeal has overturned the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) request for additional animal toxicity testing on the automotive air-conditioning refrigerant 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene (HFO-1234yf).

The requested test would oppose the ECHA’s responsibility under the Reach (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) regulation to ensure that animal tests are only undertaken as a last resort, and that any testing involves the minimum number of animals, the ECHA’s board of appeal has ruled.

In 2010, the ECHA requested that Honeywell Belgium, which submitted the Reach dossier on the compound, complete an extended study of its toxicity in rabbits. Honeywell argued that such a test could not reliably provide the information the ECHA required, and that existing data were sufficient to assess the compound’s toxicity.

The case will now be referred back to the ECHA for further action. In a statement Honeywell said that it is ‘looking forward to reviewing existing data and testing with the ECHA’.

HFO-1234yf is produced by a joint venture between Honeywell and DuPont as a greener alternative to other fluorinated refrigerants, which have much higher global warming potential.


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