As final discussions wind down on critical legislation on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform package, commonly known as The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, 39 House Democrats wrote a letter (PDF) to U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, and urged him to incorporate all elements of the Senate-passed language on animal testing. The provisions would improve the science behind chemical testing, encourage better safety decisions to protect the environment and human health, and reduce the use of animals and the terrible suffering they endure through dosing them with these poisoning substances. The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund strongly support the language, which unanimously passed the Senate in December.

“Each year, tens of thousands of animals are killed to test industrial chemicals, including those found in common household products,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “These animals suffer terribly as harsh chemicals are rubbed into their skin, forced down their throats and dropped in their eyes. This breakthrough bill would help make chemical testing smarter, faster and more reliable for regulatory decision-making and protect animals’ lives. We have extraordinary bipartisan support for this provision, along with support from animal welfare groups and the chemicals industry, and we hope that hold-out lawmakers accede to the overwhelming sense of their colleagues that a strong policy requiring the use of alternatives to animal testing where available makes good sense.”

The New Jersey congressional delegation’s roots run deep on TSCA reform. The bill was named for former U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, the House negotiations are co-led by Pallone and the Senate language on animal testing was spearheaded by U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

The final requested changes ensure that existing information is used before more animal testing is requested; that tests that also replace, and not just reduce, animal tests are considered; and finally, that industry consider non-animal approaches when performing voluntary testing prior to submitting an application to EPA. It is also in line with the chemical regulation policies of foreign governments, such as the European Union.

The core elements of that language have the broad support of Senate Democrats and Republicans and also the Environmental Working Group, Environmental Defense Fund, Consumer Specialty Products Association, American Chemistry Council, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and The Humane Society of the United States.

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