PCRM Saves Animals' Lives at Dow Chemical
PCRM scientists saved 675 animals’ lives this month thanks to a recent dialogue with Dow Chemical—and some smart science. Experts with PCRM suggested that Dow test a High Production Volume (HPV) chemical’s effect using a nonanimal model first and because of this, Dow canceled the animal experiment.
In March, Dow was planning an experiment in which a chemical— commercial hydroxyethylpiperazine, or CHEP—would have been tested by applying it to the skin of pregnant rats. The rats would then have been allowed to give birth, and both mother and offspring would then have been killed to study the effect the chemical had on mammalian reproduction and development. Under the HPV program, companies assemble data on the potential effects of certain chemicals and often conduct testing using animals.
PCRM toxicologists suggested that Dow first use a nonanimal model to assess whether or not CHEP would even penetrate the rats’ skin. Dow experts liked this idea and used modern computer technology to model chemical parameters based on a chemical’s structure and other characteristics. The tests showed that the chemical would not absorb through the skin in any appreciable amount, and therefore would have no reproductive effects on the animals.
The outcome was beneficial for everyone: Dow Chemical saved money by not performing an experiment that wouldn’t have even had an effect, and, most importantly, the rats didn’t lose their lives.