New EPA Bill on the Right Track, Needs More Work
The long-awaited Senate and House versions of the new Toxic Substances Control Act—which is intended to improve the way that hazardous substances are tested and regulated in the U.S.—have just been released. PETA’s Regulatory Testing Division has been working tirelessly for years to make sure that animal testing is minimized in this bill.
For the past 30-plus years, chemicals have been tested on millions of animals—with very little to show for it. Reliance on animal-testing resultsâ€•which have been shown to be largely irrelevant to human health effectsâ€•has contributed to the ineffectiveness of past legislation in protecting humans and the environment from hazardous chemicals. Fortunately, recent advances in science and technology allow for more useful information to be gathered without extensive animal testing, and incorporation of these new approaches should be the foundation of any new legislation.
The newly introduced legislation incorporates a number of animal protection measures that we have been advocating, such as the following:
- Encouraging the use of non-animal methods. The draft bills fall short, however, in not requiring the use of existing non-animal methods.
- Using existing data on chemicals instead of repeatedly running them through the same battery of animal tests
- Avoiding explicit mention of specific animal tests, thus allowing for flexibility as scienceand new technologies advance
- Supporting and funding the development of new non-animal methods
While both versions of this bill are headed in the right direction, further elements need to be clarified to ensure that animal use is minimized and eventually eliminated, and we will be working hard to do just that.
Incorporating these measures into the bill will improve the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of the tests, while cutting costs, preventing an enormous amount of animal suffering, and vastly increasing the EPA’s ability to protect humans and the environment.
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Written by Alisa Mullins