Cost-effectiveness analysis of chemical testing for decision-support: How to include animal welfare?

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Toxicity testing for regulatory purposes raises the question of test selection for a particular endpoint. Given the public's concern for animal welfare, test selection is a multi-objective decision problem that requires balancing information outcome, animal welfare loss, and monetary testing costs. This paper demonstrates the applicability of cost-effectiveness analysis as a decision-support tool for test selection in a regulatory context such as, for example, the new European chemicals legislation (REACH). We distinguish different decision-making perspectives, in particular the regulator's and chemical industry's perspectives, and we discuss how cost-effectiveness analysis can be applied to test selection from both perspectives. Furthermore, we show how animal welfare goals can be included in cost-effectiveness analyses, and we provide a three-dimensional extension to the standard cost-effectiveness analysis if animal welfare loss cannot be valued in monetary terms. To illustrate how cost-effectiveness analysis works in different settings, we apply our model to a simple case of selecting short-term tests for mutagenicity. We demonstrate that including sufficiently high values for animal welfare induces cost-effective replacements of animal testing. Furthermore, we show that the regulator and chemical companies face different tradeoffs when selecting tests. This may lead to different choices of tests or testing systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-620
Number of pages18
JournalHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • economic foundations
  • multiple outcomes
  • benefit-analysis
  • risk-assessment
  • reach
  • carcinogenicity
  • strategies
  • acceptability
  • predictivity
  • mutagenicity

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