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US EPA commits to eliminating animal toxicity tests

by Britt E. Erickson
September 13, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 36


Photo of a bucket containing cleaning products and equipment.
Credit: Shutterstock

The US Environmental Protection Agency is one step closer to eliminating the use of animals for testing the toxicity of chemicals, including pesticides and cleaning-product ingredients. In a Sept. 10 memo, EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler directed agency leaders to reduce requests and funding for toxicity tests on mammals by 30% by 2025 and to eliminate all such requests and funding by 2035. “Scientific advancements exist today that allow us to better predict potential hazards for risk assessment purposes without the use of traditional methods that rely on animal testing,” Wheeler says in the memo. The initiative is expected to save hundreds of thousands of animals each year. Alternative methods, such as human cell–based in vitro tests and computational models, are more relevant to humans and faster than traditional animal toxicology tests, proponents of nonanimal methods say. “This measure will mean a safer environment as well as scientific methods that are technically better and more humane,” Kristie Sullivan, vice president of research policy at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says in a statement.


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