Toxic Substances Control Act Reform

The Physicians Committee

Legislative Focus

Toxic Substances Control Act Reform

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates industrial chemicals through a statute called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In May 2013, the U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that would update TSCA. Please help PCRM ensure that this legislation becomes a launch pad for better methods—techniques that rely on modern cell-based tests instead of animals.

The Senate bill, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, S. 1009, includes principles to replace and reduce animal-based test methods and to increase the use of information from human-based and mechanistic tools such as:

  • Compelling the EPA to reduce the use of animals in chemical testing using strategies recommended by testing reform advocates.
  • Directing the EPA to fund research into nonanimal methods, including those recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Giving the EPA the flexibility to tailor testing requirements to the chemical in question, which allows nonanimal tests to be used and avoids superfluous animal tests.

Unfortunately, by directing the EPA to "encourage and facilitate" the use of nonanimal test methods, grouping of chemicals, formation of industry consortia, and other strategies to minimize animal testing, they have missed an opportunity. The Physicians Committee urges Congress to, in this respect, harmonize the bill with the European Union law, which requires that new animal tests only be conducted as a last resort, when all other methods of obtaining data have been used. A “last resort” clause is crucial to the rapid development and uptake of new methods as it allows flexibility to incorporate continued improvements in toxicity testing that offer superior protection for public health and the environment.

Check back soon for an opportunity to take action!

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