EPA announces plan to end required animal tests for chemical safety testing

September 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced today that animal testing to assess the safety of products under EPA's authority will be substantially reduced in six years and phased out by 2035. Physicians Committee scientists Kristie Sullivan, MPH, and Esther Haugabrooks, PhD, were in attendance at an historic signing ceremony marking the intent of EPA to end its reliance on mammalian animal tests to assess chemical and pesticide risk to human health and the environment and to expand investments 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.

The Physicians Committee has worked to address these issues by contributing to scientific development and lobbying for regulatory reform for many years. Also, for these reasons, as well as for animal protection, organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States have worked for the replacement of animal tests with more human-relevant methods.

"We're so pleased to see the EPA commit to expanding the animal test reduction provisions from the Lautenberg Act agency-wide. This commitment will spur scientific developments that will allow for the collection of more human-relevant information on chemical safety faster, benefiting people and the environment," said Kristie Sullivan, MPH, vice president of research policy for the Physicians Committee. "We will continue to support the training of EPA and chemical industry staff on nonanimal methods."
To speak with Ms. Sullivan, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or rpohl@pcrm.org.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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