PCRM Asks Congress for Chemical Tests That Protect Humans and Animals
Ensuring that industrial chemicals are safe presents a monumental challenge. PCRM’s congressional testimony last month urged toxicity testing reforms that would meet this challenge and better protect animals in laboratories and humans.
“Twenty-first-century chemical regulation needs 21st-century toxicity testing,” PCRM toxicologist Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., informed members of the Senate in her written testimony on assessing the effectiveness of U.S. chemical safety laws. “If carried out thoughtfully, reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) represents an unprecedented opportunity to implement an effective program of chemical assessment and management.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to meet the demand for quicker assessment of a wider range of chemicals through TSCA, a 35-year-old U.S. law that regulates industrial chemicals. But evaluating the backlog of approximately 80,000 chemicals is not feasible because toxicity testing methods rely on animal testing. Current testing is largely based on experiments on animals—rodents, rabbits, dogs—and uses methods that are time-consuming, expensive, and in some cases use thousands of animals apiece. For example, a single reproductive toxicity study requires a minimum of two years, $380,000, and 2,600 animals.
In her testimony, Sullivan recommended that TSCA incorporate recommendations made by the National Research Council’s Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and Strategy. The report, which the EPA commissioned, calls for the development of human-based in vitro cell and tissue tests instead of animal tests for hazard assessment and chemical regulation. Sullivan also outlined principles for prioritizing chemicals for toxicity testing and ways to ensure implementation of new testing technologies.
PCRM also recently worked with DoSomething.org to feature “11 Myths About Animal Testing,”which dispels common myths about animal testing for cosmetics, household cleaners, and other products. On DoSomething.org, you can learn the truth behind animal testing myths such as:
- MYTH: All animals in laboratories have some legal protection.
- MYTH: Some animals get to live happy lives once they are not needed for any more testing.
- MYTH: There aren't any alternatives to animal tests.
- MYTH: There is nothing I can do to stop animal suffering in laboratories.