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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Wasted Money, Wasted Lives

The EPA’s indifference to animal suffering is further evidenced by the fact that it allocates virtually none of its over $600 million annual research budget to the development of non-animal test methods, which are generally more reliable, less costly, and always more humane than animal-based tests. Instead, the EPA erects roadblocks at every turn, refusing to use internationally accepted non-animal tests, while wasting countless taxpayer dollars to fund cruel animal experiments like these mercury inhalation and metal bioavailability.

Mercury Inhalation

The EPA has paid the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, $400,000 during the past several years to conduct the following gruesome experiment.

Scientists have known the hazards of mercury for decades and have seen reproductive effects in dental hygienists for years from their exposure to mercury in fillings. Yet the EPA is spending our tax money unsuccessfully attempting to duplicate these effects that have already been seen in humans by forcing rats into contraptions that resemble medieval torture devices. As stated in the researchers’ own words in a feature article in NIEHS’ publication Environmental Health Perspectives (April 2000):

Says NIEHS toxicologist Dan Morgan, “The first mercury study we did was in response to studies … that showed that female dental hygienists, who are exposed to mercury quite often in preparing fillings, had more problems conceiving than women who were not exposed. So in order to study the mechanism of this effect, we tried to duplicate the results in animals.”

Of the results, Morgan says, “We weren’t able to reproduce any of those effects in our animal model.”

… In these studies, the NIEHS research group is exposing pregnant rats to various concentrations of mercury vapor and then examining mercury concentrations in various tissues. The group uses two methods to perform inhalation experiments. In so-called “nose-only” exposures, the investigators place a rat or mouse in a plastic device that looks like a soft-drink bottle without a bottom [see top photograph], and a prescribed mixture of air is delivered to the animal’s nose through the neck of the “bottle.” … In whole-body exposure studies, many animals each in its own cage can be exposed to toxicants simultaneously”

Please contact EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson and ask that her administration stop the EPA from killing animals in cruel and wasteful experiments on chemicals that we already know are dangerous. Tell her that you want the EPA to start funding the development of non-animal tests that are faster, cheaper, and more relevant to humans.

Lisa Jackson
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Bldg. (1101A)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
202-501-1450 (fax)
jackson.lisap@epa.gov

Also, please tell your congressional representative and senators that you want the EPA to stop wasting your money on pointless animal tests and to devote a portion of its over $600 million annual research budget to non-animal test development.

Metal Bioavailability

Toxic contaminants such as arsenic and lead can pose a serious health risk to humans, particularly infants and children. However, the EPA is still not sure whether it is worth spending the money to clean up these contaminants on the sites of former mines, mills, and smelter waste facilities. So instead, the EPA has chosen to spend more than $400,000 to fund toxicity studies in pigs in an attempt to estimate human exposures to arsenic and lead from the soil of contaminated sites. The research is being performed under the direction of University of Missouri toxicologist Stan Casteel and involves dissolving toxins in drinking water or mixing them with food, then feeding them to immature pigs. Researchers then measure the levels of lead and arsenic in the pigs’ blood or urine.

These EPA-funded poisoning studies are completely unnecessary, however, given that non-animal alternatives have been available and in widespread use by European countries since 1994 and can be conducted for a small fraction of the cost of animal tests. These systems evaluate the degree to which metal toxins are absorbed through a simulated gastrointestinal tract. Soils containing arsenic, lead, or other metals are “incubated” in an acidic solution that mimics the environment in the stomach. The acidity is then reduced and incubation continues for a period intended to mimic the time that would be spent in the small intestine. Enzymes and organic acids are also added to simulate gastric and small-intestinal fluids. The fraction of lead, arsenic, or other metals that dissolves during the stomach and small-intestinal phases represents the fraction that is available for absorption and which is therefore capable of causing toxicity.

Please contact EPA head Lisa Jackson and ask her to discontinue the EPA’s funding of these pig toxicity studies and to replace them with the non-animal method.

Lisa Jackson
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Bldg. (1101A)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
202-501-1450 (fax)
jackson.lisap@epa.gov

Also, please tell your congressional representative and senators that you want the EPA to stop wasting your money on pointless animal tests and to devote a portion of its over $600 million annual research budget to non-animal test development.

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