PCRM Partners with American Chemistry Council and EPA to Seek Alternatives to Animal Testing
Since 1999, PCRM has successfully worked to reduce animal use in toxicity testing of chemicals regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. As a result, the American Chemistry Council has asked PCRM to join an expert panel to assess future chemical assessment plans submitted by manufacturers and suggest ways to protect human health and the environment and avoid animal testing.
The new High Production Volume (HPV) Chemical Peer Consultation Pilot is designed to test whether a modified review and comment process of HPV initial submissions will create efficiencies that will help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet its goals under its Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP).
The overall goal of the pilot is to enable the EPA to move more rapidly to develop hazard characterizations and risk-based decisions on HPV chemicals. PCRM will play a key role in this process by suggesting ways a chemical’s potential hazards can be characterized, protecting public and worker health, while minimizing expensive, inhumane, and time-consuming animal tests.
Currently, laboratories around the world subject millions of mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, and other animals to painful experiments to test the toxicity of different chemicals. But PCRM continues to promote the concept of “thoughtful toxicology.” For example, if a chemical, because of its properties, will not be absorbed through the skin, animal tests that assess toxicity by skin exposure should not be conducted. Other tests can be avoided by using data from tests already conducted using similar chemicals, which often have similar toxic properties. These ideas might seem obvious, but all too often the default activity is to do another animal test—PCRM scientists provide a much-needed perspective on how to break that regulatory approach whenever possible.
“PCRM has had great success working together with scientists in industry and government to evaluate chemical testing plans and develop nonanimal solutions to save thousands of animals and humans,” said PCRM’s director of toxicology and research, Chad Sandusky, Ph.D., who will participate in an expert panel. “One of our goals on this pilot is to work with the other panel scientists and to ensure the review process takes advantage of the expanded animal protection principles PCRM developed over the course of the original HPV program.”
Under the pilot, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), an independent, nonprofit scientific organization, will convene and facilitate a technical Peer Consultation Panel whose members will offer technical comments on HPV submissions. Panel representatives will consist of technical experts from EPA, PCRM, and an emeritus toxicologist retired from the National Toxicology Program, who has represented environmental groups in the past.
The technical Peer Consultation Panel will meet twice before the end of 2008 and will review submissions concerning approximately 40 chemicals.
For more information on PCRM’s work to stop animal testing of industrial chemicals and a historical perspective on the HPV program, visit the PCRM.org Testing of Industrial Chemicals: Strategies that Save Animals section.