WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine praised an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to phase out animal testing of chemical products. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced today that animal testing will be substantially reduced in six years and phased out by 2035.
The change comes after years of work by the Physicians Committee, first to pass a 2016 bill that mandated reductions in EPA animal use, and then to help regulators and product manufacturers to implement nonanimal research methods. “This measure will mean a safer environment as well as scientific methods that are technically better and more humane,” said Kristie Sullivan, MPH, Physicians Committee vice president for research policy. Ms. Sullivan and Esther Haugabrooks, PhD, also of the Physicians Committee, joined Administrator Wheeler at the EPA for today’s announcement.
In today’s action, the EPA announced its intent to end its reliance on mammalian animal tests to assess chemical and pesticide risks and to invest in computer-based and in vitro cell and tissue models. The EPA also announced awards of $4.2 million in grants for research into new test methods.
Currently, hundreds of thousands of animals are killed every year to test chemicals, pesticides, cleaning products, and other substances that are regulated by the EPA. Results from animal tests are often not relevant to human health, due to the significant differences across species. Additionally, tests using animals take much longer to conduct than most nonanimal methods, so new, more reliable methods will allow for the introduction of safe products on a faster timeline and will help rule out dangerous chemicals earlier.
In addition to the Physicians Committee, scientists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States have worked hard to replace animal use in environmental tests.
Reina Pohl, MPH
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.