Acute toxicity is defined as the adverse effects that occur following oral or dermal administration of a single dose of a substance, or multiple doses within 24 hours, or an inhalation exposure of 4 hours.
Acute toxicity testing of cosmetic ingredients and other substances is required by a range of legislation including REACH (http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/). In spite of recent progress in the adoption of alternatives to animal tests in other areas (eg skin sensitisation, skin and eye irritation), there is currently no alternative test for acute toxicity that is widely accepted or approved at a regulatory level. Previous attempts to develop such a test have not been successful and there are currently no new methods under validation (https://eurl-ecvam.jrc.ec.europa.eu/validation-regulatory-acceptance/systemic-toxicity/acute-toxicity). XCellR8 has already begun to develop a human cell based acute toxicity test, using completely animal-free test conditions. The project has a preliminary focus on use with cosmetic ingredients but also has wider long-term applications in other industries (industrial chemicals, drugs etc). This project has received feasibility funding from Innovate UK, completing in January 2016. The preliminary stages of the project have recently been published by XCellR8 in the ATLA journal, with further publications expected in the first half of 2016.
You can read the ATLA article here: