PCRM Pushes for Major Cuts in Animal Testing
PCRM scientists traveled to Rome in September to help coordinate international efforts to reduce animal testing and to share expertise on a U.S. legislative proposal that could determine the fate of millions of animals.
At the Seventh World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, PCRM toxicologist Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., discussed the upcoming revision of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), the primary U.S. law that regulates industrial chemicals.
Currently, most chemical testing is conducted on rabbits, rats, mice, dogs, cats, primates, hamsters, and other animals. Tests can vary in duration from a few hours to animals’ entire life spans. But recent legislative changes to chemical regulation in Europe and other regions have led the United States to revisit its own chemical testing policies.
“Replacing animal tests with more modern methods will not only help animals,” says Sullivan. “It will also better protect human health and the environment.”
Her presentation, “An Examination of New Chemical Regulation Policies as a Means to Revolutionize Toxicity Testing,” reviewed three chemical regulation frameworks that Congress may consider as models for a revised TSCA: the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act, proposed in 2005 and 2008 but not passed; the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chemical Assessment and Management Program; and an integrated testing strategy approach. Integrated testing strategies use all the available information about a chemical instead of conducting a set of animal tests.
Her analysis compared the impact of the different frameworks on the numbers of animals killed in laboratories and the frameworks’ efficiency, measured as the numbers of chemicals that could be evaluated after one and 10 years. Sullivan found that the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act and the Chemical Assessment and Management Program would result in massive numbers of animal deaths but would fail to adequately assess the health effects of chemicals. Conversely, an integrated testing strategy approach would allow the government to assess chemicals quickly and avoid animal tests.
This presentation was especially timely as Congress prepares for the first major revision of TSCA in the law’s 33-year history. Revisions could shift U.S. toxicity testing away from animals toward modern methods that can test thousands of chemicals at once and provide information more relevant to human health.
Sign up to help persuade Congress to revolutionize chemical testing at PCRM.org/Testing.