Recent technological developments have provided powerful quantitative in vitro bioassays to effectively measure a wide range of major classes of toxicants in water (i.e. acutely toxic compounds, endocrine disrupting substances and genotoxic agents). As the possibilities of these methods are rapidly expanding, they are providing comprehensive monitoring systems for a wide range of toxicities at higher throughput and reduced costs, without the use of experimental animals. A prominent example of integrated analytical monitoring tools is the set of biological assays developed by TECHNEAU for monitoring endocrine disrupting substances in water. DEMEAU will further optimize and demonstrate these in vitro bioassays, including novel assays for detecting genotoxicity.
An important barrier to the implementation of these technologies as routine screening tools is the relatively slow pace of regulatory acceptance. To increase regualtory acceptance, consensus building and standardization are important to draw generic international (ISO) or European (CEN) guidelines involving all key actors. Advanced technologies with societal and political pressure will be used to spearhead this implementation, with a particular focus on screening technologies for endocrine disrupting substances and emerging pollutants.