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NEWS RELEASE March 5, 2001

Doctors Urge New EPA Chief to Rethink Massive Testing Program

PCRM Says Chemical Tests on Animals Are Ineffective and Inhumane

WASHINGTON—Three new animal testing programs initiated by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are inhumane and ultimately useless, said the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). In a letter sent Friday to the agency 's new administrator,the nonprofit health organization urged Christine Todd Whitman to rethink the controversial programs initiated by the Clinton-Gore Administration.

The programs —which encourage chemical companies to conduct years of redundant toxicity tests on animals —are allegedly supposed to protect human health by determining the risk of various chemicals,yet PCRM and other organizations have proven that the programs are deeply flawed.

"These programs are doomed to failure because animal tests are not the most effective way to determine whether a certain chemical is toxic to humans,"says PCRM staff scientist Nicole Cardello,M.H.S.,who has conducted an extensive review of the test plans."Instead of doing anything to protect human health or the environment, the programs will waste vast sums of taxpayer dollars and millions of animal lives."

Ms.Cardello and other PCRM researchers have gathered evidence showing that many of the chemicals slated for testing already are well-documented carcinogens,yet the EPA has failed to take any serious action against them.In fact,the agency has not banned a single toxic industrial chemical under the Toxic Substances Control Act in the past ten years.

PCRM,along with a number of environmental and animal protection groups,has been campaigning against the three programs since their inception.The organizations want the EPA to stop delaying and take regulatory action on chemicals that are known hazards,end duplicative testing,and employ alternative,more effective testing methods.The three programs are known as the High Production Volume Challenge Program,the Voluntary Children 's Chemical Evaluation Program,and the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.

PCRM is a plaintiff in three lawsuits against the EPA.

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.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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