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Animal Experiments

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what definition he uses of the sub-category of toxicological procedure Substances used in the Household in the context of his Department's Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals; and whether this sub-category applies to both finished household products and their ingredients. (141929)

The information published in the Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals in Great Britain on toxicological procedures is classified according to the nature of the substance tested. There is no authoritative definition of the term ‘household products’ within toxicology and it is not defined in any national or international legislation.

However, in the context of the Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, regard is paid to the definition of finished household products as set out in the 2002 publication on The Use of Animals in Testing Household Products produced by the Boyd Group, a forum encompassing a wide rage of expertise and perspectives concerned with the use of animals in scientific procedures. As part of the quality assurance process for compiling the statistics each return for the use of household products is scrutinised to ensure appropriate categorisation.

All products that are primarily intended for use in the home fall within the sub-category ‘Substances used in the household’ and would include such products as detergents and other laundry products, household cleaners, air-fresheners, toilet blocks, polishes, paper products such as infant nappies, paints, glues (and removers), other furnishing and DIY products and household pesticides. The sub-category applies to both finished household products and their ingredients, although in practice mainly the latter are tested.

Procedures for toxicological purposes accounted for 14 per cent. of all procedures started in 2005 and, of that, 0.005 per cent. of procedures were for the evaluation household products. The number of procedures for the testing of household products remains very small and has reduced dramatically from 1,032 procedures in 2002 to 21 in 2005, a fall of 98 per cent. It is anticipated that it will always be the case that only very small numbers of animals will be used for this purpose.