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Tools and Approaches

Unilever’s safety assessments are exposure-led, which means we use our deep understanding of how our products are used, as well as the level of each ingredient in the product to calculate the typical exposure to each ingredient that the consumer might encounter.

To ensure we also consider the environmental impact of products that go ‘down the drain’ after use, we also calculate the amount of each ingredient that enters the environment. We consider water use in the home and the connection to any type of wastewater treatment. We then apply our expertise to evaluate all these data to generate a full understanding of exposure for the overall safety assessment.

We consider it essential that we use internationally recognised approaches and authoritative scientific evidence in our safety assessments. This may be through using existing data alone, either directly or indirectly (through read-across approaches), or these data can also form part of a weight of evidence, as can a history of safe use and exposure-based waiving. If we consider there is insufficient data for the safety assessment, we generate new approach methodology (NAM) data to address the gaps and increase the robustness of our safety assessments.

Animal-Free In Vitro Tools

There is an increasing acceptance of the role in vitro assays play in assuring the safety of consumer goods, particularly as part of next-generation risk assessment (NGRA). In addition to any ethical considerations, there is a growing desire to remove any animal products from these in vitro assays to make them more scientifically robust & human-relevant. For example, the use of foetal bovine serum (FBS) and animal-derived antibodies can introduce a lot of batch-to-batch variabilities, potentially resulting in experimental quality issues (e.g., contamination of FBS; specificity of antibodies) and reproducibility issues. Our longer-term aim is the replacement of all animal-derived products within SEAC’s current and future assays where scientifically feasible and to collaborate with other groups across the wider scientific community to meet these goals together.

Human Safety

Environmental Safety

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