Issue Date: March 28, 2016
EPA promotes use of toxicity tests that don’t use animals
Pesticide manufacturers and animal rights activists are welcoming an EPA effort to reduce the number of animals used in acute toxicity testing of pesticides. In a March 17 letter, Jack E. Housenger, director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, encouraged manufacturers to take advantage of alternative methods to six standard toxicity tests—acute oral, dermal, and inhalation toxicity; eye irritation; skin irritation; and skin sensitization. To help accomplish that goal, EPA released guidance for pesticide manufacturers that describes a process for evaluating alternative testing methods that do not use live animals. The agency also released draft guidance that would allow manufacturers to waive acute dermal toxicity studies for pesticides. More than 50 animals are used in a complete set of these toxicity tests, and EPA receives more than 500 sets each year, Housenger says. “Although not every submission contains a complete set of studies, the potential for a substantial reduction in animal testing is clear,” he adds.
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