Skip to Main Content

Death Toll from Pesticide Testing

Following are the numbers of animals used in tests that are commonly required by the Environmental Protection Agency to assess pesticide toxicity for a single chemical ingredient in a pesticide formula:

Pesticide Tests for Toxicity to Humans

TestsNumber of Animals Used
Acute oral toxicity (rats)5 to 7
Acute inhalation toxicity (rats)20
Acute dermal toxicity (rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs)20
Eye irritation (rabbits)1 to 3
Skin irritation (rabbits)1 to 3
Skin allergy (mice and/or guinea pigs)16 to 32
28-day oral toxicity (rats)40
28-day dermal or inhalation toxicity (rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs)40
90-day feeding study (rats)120
90-day inhalation study (rats)32
90-day oral or inhalation study (dogs)80
Genetic toxicity, micronucleus (mice)50
Genetic toxicity, chromosomal aberration (rats or hamsters)50
Genetic toxicity, unscheduled DNA synthesis (rats)*12
Genetic toxicity, sister chromatid exchange (mice or rats)*30 to 50
Genetic toxicity, dominant lethal (mice or rats)*500
Lifetime feeding study—cancer effects (rats)400
Cancer effects (mice)400
Acute nervous system toxicity (rats)80
28-day subacute (delayed) nervous system toxicity (hens)*40
90-day nervous system toxicity (rats)60
90-day nervous system toxicity (hens)*80
Developmental nervous system toxicity (rats)900
Prenatal developmental toxicity (rats and rabbits)80 each
Reproductive/developmental toxicity screen (rats)675
Reproductive toxicity in two generations (rats)2,500
Immune system toxicity (rats)32
General metabolism (rats)24
Skin penetration (rats)*24

* These tests are optional depending upon the situation.

Pesticide Tests for Toxicity to Wildlife

TestsNumber of Animals Used 
Oral toxicity to birds (mallard ducks or bobwhites)60
Dietary toxicity to birds (mallard ducks or bobwhites)70
Acute toxicity to freshwater fish (rainbow trout and bluegills)84
Acute toxicity to freshwater invertebrates (daphnids)120
Full life-cycle toxicity to freshwater invertebrates (daphnids)60
Early life-stage toxicity to freshwater fish (rainbow trout, minnows, zebra fish, and rice fish)360
Fish accumulation study (zebra fish, minnows, carp, rice fish, bluegills, rainbow trout, and sticklebacks)72
Honeybee acute toxicity175