Kazuhiko Hayashi, Takayuki Abo, Yuko Nukada and Hitoshi Sakaguchi
The Short Time Exposure (STE) test is a simple and easy-to-perform in vitro eye irritation test, that uses the viability of SIRC cells (a rabbit corneal cell line) treated for five minutes as the endpoint. In this study, our goal was to define the applicability domain of the STE test, based on the results obtained with a set of 113 substances. To achieve this goal, chemicals were selected to represent both different chemical classes and different chemical properties, as well as to cover, in a balanced manner, the categories of eye irritation potential according to the Globally Harmonised System (GHS). Accuracy analysis indicated that the rates of false negatives for organic/inorganic salts (75.0%), hydrocarbons (33.3%) and alcohols (23.5%) were high. Many of the false negative results were for solid substances. It is noteworthy that no surfactant resulted in a false negative result in the STE test. Further examination of the physical property data and performance showed a significant improvement in the predictive accuracy, when substances with vapour pressures over 6kPa were excluded from the analyses. Our results indicate that several substances i.e. certain solids such as salts, alcohols, hydrocarbons, and volatile substances with a vapour pressure over 6kPa — do not fall within the applicability domain of the STE test. Overall, we are encouraged by the performance and improved accuracy of the STE test.