Testing of Industrial Chemicals: Strategies that Save Animals

The Physicians Committee

Testing of Industrial Chemicals: Strategies that Save Animals

Starting with the testimony of Neal Barnard, M.D., to Congress in 1999, PCRM has worked to prevent the deaths of animals in large testing programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) High Production Volume Chemical Challenge Program (HPV Program), which gathered data on industrial chemicals produced or imported into the U.S. in excess of 1 million pounds. By working together with other animal protection scientists to evaluate testing plans, PCRM was able to save thousands of animals.

PCRM promotes the concept of “thoughtful toxicology”: Instead of doing a list of tests for each chemical, you examine all of the information available on a chemical and can very frequently decide that testing can be avoided. 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.

Over the course of the HPV program, PCRM helped assess hundreds of testing plans—and we won some big victories. PCRM scientists presented the principles behind these victories at scientific conferences in Seattle, San Diego, Austin, Washington, D.C., Berlin, and Tokyo, spreading them to other scientists worldwide. In the fall of 2008, the EPA plans to continue the program for new HPV chemicals and Medium Production Volume (MPV) chemicals, as the Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP). Earlier this year, PCRM sent comments to the EPA detailing additional animal protection principles EPA should adopt in this new program in order to save animal lives.

As a result of PCRM’s work, the American Chemistry Council has invited PCRM’s director of toxicology and research, Chad Sandusky, Ph.D., to participate in an expert panel. Dr. Sandusky and his team will assess each testing plan submitted to the panel by HPV and MPV manufacturers and suggest ways in which animal testing can be avoided or minimized while still protecting health and the environment.

For more information on PCRM’s work to stop animal testing of industrial chemicals and a historical perspective on the HPV program, see below. You can also read more about alternatives to animal testing here.