Physicians Committee Scientists Say Pass the Lautenberg Act (S. 697): Bill Will Ensure Reform of Toxicity Testing
Statement of Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., director of regulatory testing issues for the Physicians Committee, on the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
“The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine urges senators to vote for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697).
“To protect public health and the environment, the National Research Council recommends in its report Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy a shift away from the current heavy reliance on animal tests toward efficient, human-relevant methods. More than any other Toxic Substances Control Act reform bill introduced to date, the Lautenberg Act contains many provisions that are consistent with the goals and recommendations made in this report.
“The bill requires alternatives to animal tests be considered and used, and places restrictions on animal testing–which are stronger than current law–that will over time facilitate the development and adoption of human-relevant, nonanimal methods.
“Principles to replace and reduce animal-based test methods and to increase the use of information from human-based and mechanistic tools are integrated into the heart of the legislation. The bill also directs the EPA to fund research into the development of nonanimal methods.
“Since 2005, the Physicians Committee has worked to share with Congress the importance of fixing an integral part of the regulatory process–toxicity testing. We lack information on many chemicals and how they affect a diverse human population, because we rely too heavily on slow, unreliable, and expensive animal tests. The Lautenberg Act is a major step forward toward better protection of public health and the environment.”
“As a physician, I know we need research but think our current reliance on animal tests is outdated, bad science. All animals are similar in that they all feel pain and are capable of fear and suffering, but it is well known that except for that similarity, many react quite differently to chemical substances. I, therefore, think that reliance on animal testing risks having a false sense of security with some harmful substances and false worries over others. That fact plus my deepest conviction that animals are not test tubes and deserve humane care makes me want to do everything I can to try to bring chemical testing into the 21st century with less cruelty and better science.” - Marge P., Massachusetts