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June 7, 2013

Environmental Protection Agency Releases Policy Recommendations to Reduce Animal Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formalized several policy recommendations designed to reduce animal tests in pesticide safety.   

Even though progress has been made in developing non-animal tests to evaluate chemicals, pesticide registration still requires as many as two dozen different laboratory poisoning tests, which can involve as many as 10,000 dogs, rodents, rabbits, fish, birds and other animals to register a single pesticide. The policy documents formalize several steps toward minimizing animal testing that the EPA has been considering for some time.

“The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund welcome these formal policy statements as a series of important steps in shifting toward smarter chemical assessment that relies on careful evaluation of the information rather than a rote list of required testing,” said Catherine Willett, director of regulatory toxicology for The HSUS. “These policies continue the momentum of providing improved human health and environmental protection while moving away from reliance on animal testing.”

EPA’s announcement includes the following:

  • Publication of “Guiding Principles for Data Requirements” formalizing a flexible approach to chemical assessment to maximize the efficiency of data collection, thereby minimizing the use of animal testing.
  • Publication of “Part 158 Toxicology Data Requirements: Guidance for Neurotoxicity Battery, Subchronic Inhalation, Subchronic Dermal and Immunotoxicity Studies” emphasizing the use of an evaluation process to determine if  testing is necessary and describing how testing can be avoided, as an alternative to simple check-box requirements.
  • Acceptance as policy of a previous pilot study that allows a non-animal testing framework for classification of eye irritation for anti-microbial pesticides.
  • A new policy, Combining Genotoxicity Testing with Standard Repeated Dose Toxicology Testing, that reduces animal testing by combining genotoxicity endpoints into routine toxicology studies.

The HSUS continues to urge the EPA to implement further measures, to reduce animal tests, which do not provide useful information and implement non-animal tests that are more relevant for humans. 

Media contact: Niki Ianni: 610-999-6932, nianni@humanesociety.org

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