Gore and EPA Make Concessions on Test Program
Vice President Al Gore and the Environmental Protection Agency have announced major changes in the High Production Volume Challenge, a massive program of animal tests for chemicals. After months of Congressional hearings, editorials, and letter-writing campaigns, here are some of the concessions worked out in an October 14 agreement by a group of stakeholders, including PCRM, PETA, the Doris Day Animal League, the Vice President, the EPA, and others:
- Tests of individual chemicals will be delayed for two years to allow non-animal tests to be validated for use, especially the human cell tests developed by the Multicenter Evaluation of In-Vitro Cytotoxicity which have proven superior to animal tests of acute toxicity.
- No animal tests are to be performed if a validated method not using animals is available.
- The federal government will spend $5 million over the next two years to further the development of nonanimal tests.
- Instead of its preference for animal tests to assess a chemical’s ability to cause genetic damage, the EPA will now prefer nonanimal tests.
- Animal tests for terrestrial toxicity will be dropped.
- The EPA will urge chemical manufacturers to bring forward data from previous tests, rather than conduct new tests.
The agreement reduces animal use by several hundred thousand but does not eliminate it entirely. In particular, subchronic animal poisoning tests are still slated to be run on many chemicals, as are other tests, and Gore and the EPA have not yet agreed to delay tests of chemicals that represent large chemical categories. PCRM and other groups remain convinced that the program is ill-advised and, despite the government’s concessions, will continue to work to end it completely. You can write to the Vice President at The White House, Washington, D.C. 20500.