Reforming Chemical Testing to Better Protect Humans, Animals, the Environment
Chemical testing kills millions of animals and is a poor way to predict human health effects. In the September issue of Toxicology in Vitro, PCRM toxicologists call for 21st-century methods to replace and reduce the use of animals.
PCRM scientists reviewed the Safe Chemicals Act and the Toxic Chemical Safety Act, recent legislative proposals intended to strengthen chemical regulation and require that more chemicals be tested for safety. The authors analyzed the impact SCA and TCSA would have on animal use and test-method innovation.
The article’s lead author and PCRM toxicologist Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., notes that SCA and TCSA were spurred by REACH, chemical-regulation legislation recently adopted in the European Union, but were missing one key requirement: “REACH not only requires the preference of non-animal methods over animal tests, but also requires registrants to abide by other strategies to reduce animal use, such as formation of testing consortia and use of existing data.”
With successive legislative proposals, the sections of the bill written to minimize animal testing or encourage the use of nonanimal methods became stronger. For example, the 2010 version of the SCA stated that the EPA could consider varied or tiered testing requirements for different groups of chemicals—an important way to reduce testing overall. The 2011 version of the SCA states that EPA must establish such requirements.
However, the 2011 proposal still does not require companies to use nonanimal test methods in place of animal tests when available or share data to prevent duplicative testing.
Sullivan and the paper’s co-authors conclude that further improvements to the proposed legislation for revising the Toxic Substances Control Act, the principal U.S. law governing industrial chemicals, would substantially reduce the overall number of animals used in new toxicity tests and hasten the development of more human-relevant, nonanimal test methods.
To learn more about chemical-testing reform visit ReformToxicityTesting.org.