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An Animal-Free Test for Testing Irritating Products
by admin on: November 11th, 2011

“Contact dermatitis??? can be defined as an inflammation of the skin that results from direct contact with a particular substance such as soap, jewelry, plants (such as poison oak or poison ivy), or cosmetic products. The resulting symptoms are uncomfortable, a reddish rash that is very itchy, but not contagious.The reason these items sometimes result in contact dermatitis is that the chemicals that comprise the ingredients may bond to proteins present in the skin. This bonding results in an aggravation of the immune system, which produces redness, itching, and other irritations.

Treatment for contact dermatitis usually involves identifying the allergen responsible for the reaction and then avoiding the offending agent. There are also over-the-counter products such as anti-itch creams or other home remedies such as a wet compress that can help soothe one???s skin and reduce inflammation.

In the past, animals had been routinely used to test for contact dermatitis by exposing them to the ingredients in a number of consumer products such as soaps, shampoos, or workplace chemicals.The existing chemical tests use glutathione or other similar substances that are capable of bonding to the ingredients that cause these allergic reactions. However, none of the tests are capable of detecting the early stages of skin sensitization, which are important in determining potential for an allergic reaction.

However, public sentiment is strongly against the use of animals for testing consumer products, which has created a need to develop testing methods that do not involve animals. Published in April 2010, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Portland State University, collaborated on a project that uses the chemical nitrobenzenethiol. This chemical effectively produced positive results when testing against chemicals that are known to produce skin allergies and negative results for non-allergens. Additional benefits of this new test are that it is inexpensive and results are obtained very quickly.

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