Doctors Urge EPA to Bar Animal-Poisoning Tests of Cashew Liquid
Existing Data Show Risks Already Known
WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday to bar tests planned by the Cardolite Corporation for a chemical mixture known as Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL). These proposed tests would kill in excess of 600 animals. The group deems the tests cruel and unnecessary. The experiments are part of Cardolite Corporation’s High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge test plan, which has generated much criticism from PCRM and a coalition of health, animal protection, and environmental organizations.
The test plan clearly indicates that CNSL is not a chemical mixture with which the general public will come in contact. For those who do work with the compound, good industrial hygiene precautions are already in place to reduce exposure. Additionally, CNSL does not pose a threat from oral exposure (as it is highly unlikely) and low vapor pressure indicates negligible inhalation exposure. If further testing is desired, the coalition proposes that Cardolite administer cellular tests to characterize acute and reproductive risks in lieu of the proposed animal tests.
PCRM senior toxicologist Chad Sandusky, Ph.D., said, “Workers are already protected, and additional animal testing will not help to further reduce worker exposure. These additional studies are a waste of animals, time, and resources, and Cardolite should not conduct them.”
PCRM believes that animal tests are not the best predictors of dangers to humans and that alternative testing methods are more reliable. Furthermore, significant human exposure information—more pertinent than that gleaned from animal toxicity tests—already exists for CNSL and many other chemicals that have been in use for many years. Despite this abundance of valuable data, the EPA continues to refuse to incorporate human experience and exposure data into the HPV program.
Also supporting PCRM’s assessment were People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, the Doris Day Animal League, and Earth Island Institute. PCRM also filed a lawsuit this past September against the EPA for establishing the HPV program without public participation, as required by law.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.