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Legal / Regulatory



USA: EPA Tests Chemicals on at Least 23,000 Animals Per Year, Plans Phase Out by 2035

USA: EPA Tests Chemicals on at Least 23,000 Animals Per Year, Plans Phase Out by 2035
Draize test conducted on rabbit.Credit: PETA

A little known fact is that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses animals to test the potential risk of chemicals on the environment. While the organzation's name invokes visions of 'protection', this clearly does not apply to animals.

By 2025, the agency hopes to reduce testing on mammals by 30%. By 2035, it aims to eliminate mammalian tests. The strategy is to move away from animal testing toward cell-based and molecular approaches and the use of computational sciences. Hopefully this is the dawn of a new era.

The EPA, established in 1970, is tasked with protecting human health and the environment through research, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement.

What started as a directive to "prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing" [1] on September 10, 2019 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, is now a plan with details released June 22, 2020, to help the agency meet its goal of reducing animal testing used to inform chemical risk evaluations.

23,720 animals, was the number reportedly tested with chemicals, annually, in just two Offices of the EPA, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) and the Office of Research and Development (ORD), in recent years.[2]

The EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which focuses on the risks posed by pesticides and toxic chemicals, "has historically relied on the results of animal tests to establish 'acceptable' exposure levels for these chemicals, and millions of animals have been killed in these tests" over the years, PETA reports. [3]

Wheeler noted that "Part of why I'm doing this today is because it's been 30 years and we haven't made enough progress". [4] He further stated that 15 years to eliminate animal testing should provide ample time to come up with alternatives.

  1. EPA
  2. EPA PDF
  3. PETA
  4. NPR

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