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Understanding In Vitro Skin Corrosion Testing

Skin corrosion is defined as irreversible damage being caused to the skin. It is a much more severe outcome than skin irritation. With skin corrosion, there is visible necrosis of the epidermis and into the dermis for as long as four hours once a test chemical has been applied. This is why it is critical to test for corrosive substances effectively. If the results are unreliable or inaccurate, this can mean that the chemical user is exposed to genuine harm. It is a balancing act, though. If you are too risk-averse, you can spend thousands and thousands of pounds on unrequired testing, specialist storage, and hazard labelling. It’s also important to consider reducing reliance on animal testing. So, with that in mind, continue reading to discover everything you need to know about in vitro skin corrosion testing. 

Testing for skin corrosion 

In vitro skin corrosion testing is offered by experts such as Gentronix. This form of testing is imperative for safety profiling to ensure that serious harm does not happen to anyone who comes into contact with the material you’re producing. One of the most reputable options is the in vitro skin corrosion OECD 431 test. This is reconstructed in the human epidermis and can create part of an animal-free hazard identification approach. This can help you in terms of health and safety and meet labelling and classification requirements. You can either use this in conjunction with tests for skin irritation as part of a bottom-up or top-down approach. 

What does the test include?

The OECD 431 in vitro skin corrosion test aims to test for substance-induced corrosion and any severe amount of damage caused to the skin. This is imperative to make sure that any substances with the possibility of corroding the skin are identified. This is a crucial part of classifying hazards for your product and assessing the chemical risk that a product may display. The test system used is MatTek EpiDerm™ reconstituted human epidermis.

Cytotoxicity is measured utilising MTT. Preliminary testing involves assessing mesh reactivity, chemical interference, and MTT reducers.

Are there any other tests that have been regulatory approved?

The OECD TG 431 test is one of three that has full regulatory approval. The second is OECD TG 430, Transcutaneous electrical resistance, and you also have OECD TG 435, a Membrane barrier test referred to as Corrositex®.

The 430 test is not an actual In vitro method because it involves animal sacrifice to supply the rat skin. Therefore, it is deemed an in vivo animal experiment in some countries because of the animal's treatment, washing, and shaving for four to six days before the sacrifice. 

On the other hand, the third method (OECD TG 435) is only suitable for substances with either a very low pH or high pH, typically meaning that any pH between 4.5 and 8 is excluded. If you are unsure what test to use, the best thing to do is consult an expert who will be able to advise you.

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