Tukes is responsible for the national coordination of the preparation, maintenance and updating of the OECD and EU chemicals testing guidelines.
A variety of decisions related to chemicals regulations (REACH, plant protection products, biocides, detergents) are made on the basis of research conducted in compliance with the chemicals testing guidelines. The guidelines cover tests for:
- physical-chemical properties;
- ecotoxicity (water, sediments, soil);
- health effects.
There are also test instructions and guidelines on issues including pesticide residues and biocidal efficiency.
As a rule, chemicals testing guidelines are first produced, validated and adopted by the OECD and then included in the EU Test Methods Regulation (440/2008/EC).
The OECD testing methods are globally significant because, if a chemical is tested in a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) laboratory in an OECD member country, the test results must be accepted in all other member countries too. This principle of Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) creates both financial and animal welfare benefits and helps ensure a high level of environmental and health protection. A particular challenge faced currently is the applicability of the chemicals testing guidelines to the assessment of nanomaterials.