- Animal testing. Animal tests are still used where other laboratory protocols are not available. These tests are combined with other assays (lethality, necroscopy etc.) to minimize the number of animals sacrificed. Evaluation of acute toxicity data should include the relationship, if any, between the exposure of animals to the test substance and the incidence and severity of all abnormalities, including behavioral and clinical abnormalities, the reversibility of observed abnormalities, gross lesions, body weight changes, effects on mortality, and any other toxic
- Use of data from structurally related substances or mixtures. In order to minimize the need for animal testing for acute effects, the EPA encourages the review of existing acute toxicity information on chemical substances that are structurally related to the agent under
investigation. In certain cases it may be possible to obtain enough information to make preliminary hazard evaluations that may reduce the
need for further animal testing for acute effects.
- Chemical properties. For example, if a substance is a strong acid then there is really no need to do skin and eye tests as a corrosive material such as this will obviously cause great harm.
- In vitro testing (test tube experiments). Animal rights activists advocate such methods whenever possible. While in vitro tools have now become quite powerful, they will never be able to replace completely the need for animal studies, particularly for pharaceutical studies.
- Limit testing. A single group of animals, typically mice or rats, is given a large dose of the agent. If no lethality is demonstrated, no further testing is pursued and the substance is classified in a hazard category according to the dose used.
This safety wall poster from Safety Emporium uses humor to reinforce the importance of proper container labels.