A comparative assessment of the CLP calculation method and in vivo testing for the classification of plant protection products
In Europe, animal testing for the purpose of regulatory plant protection product (PPP) assessment should be undertaken only as a last resort. Nevertheless, there is a need to improve the acceptance of alternative methods, which has been slow due to a lack of data regarding the predictivity of in vivo effects. The CLP calculation method is an alternative method based on the concentration addition of all adverse substances in a mixture. It is often applied as a conservative approach for the estimation of toxicodynamic interactions. However, PPPs consist of pesticides and co-formulants, which in combination can also exhibit altered toxicokinetic properties. Our analysis revealed that oral and inhalation toxicity was underestimated for approximately 45% of the in vivo classified products by the CLP calculation method as compared to in vivo testing. With regard to skin and eye irritation, the CLP calculation method underestimated the irritating potential in 22% and 6% of PPPs, respectively. Based on specific concentration limits, skin sensitisation was underestimated in 34% of PPPs. Similar false negative rates have been reported for PPP in vitro testing. Hence, we suggest the development of an integrated assessment strategy, weighing all available information and considering relevant parameters influencing predictivity and uncertainty.