It is the ultimate goal of the intended REACH process (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) of the European Union to identify substances of hazardous properties and to evaluate the risks of human and environmental exposure. During the last few months there has been a controversial discussion as to what extent in vitro studies and consideration of structure activity relationship provide sufficient information to waive repeated exposure studies. Industry as well as certain regulatory agencies or NGOs support this approach and propose that repeated dose studies may only be required beyond 100 t/a. From a toxicological point of view it has to be stressed that this discussion primarily considers the cost reduction and protection of animals, whereas protection of human health and the environment are secondary. In vitro studies only allow identification of specific hazardous properties which can be detected by the specific test system. Moreover, appropriate information on the dose response of adverse effects, identification of thresholds and NOELs that are essential for risk characterization cannot be obtained from these studies. Consequently, identification of all relevant hazardous properties and endpoints of adverse effects can only be determined in the intact animal by repeated dose studies such as 28-day or 90-day studies. In the absence of such information the hazard identification is incomplete and there is no basis for appropriate risk assessment of human exposure. Thus, any waiving of repeated dose studies in animals bears the probability of unforeseen effects in case of acute or continuous human exposure. From this the undersigning European Toxicologists conclude: 1. The intention of REACH is to identify hazardous properties in order that a reliable risk assessment can be made and measures taken to deal with chemicals posing a significant risk. 2. The recent debate has centered on ways in which the well established in vivo methods for risk assessment can be bypassed. 3. The evidence that the available alternatives would support such replacement is weak. Progress to improve their value for risk assessment purposes is bound to be slow because the issues are very complex. As a group of European Toxicologists we strongly support the need for more research support in these areas, but we believe that over claims for progress is damaging their development. 4. Under the circumstances only two options are available: to reduce very substantially the estimation of hazard and risk with inevitable adverse consequences for human health and environmental protection, or to continue the existing methods until properly validated new methods are available.