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Reform of Chemical Testing a Step in the Right Direction

For Immediate Release: 
May 28, 2013

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. — The PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd., issued the following statement regarding the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 introduced by Senator Vitter and Lautenberg on May 23, 2013:

Reform of chemical safety legislation will succeed only if it also modernizes toxicity testing.

Ensuring the safety and appropriate use of chemicals is an important goal.  Reforming the EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act is a critical opportunity to implement the National Research Council’s vision for transforming toxicity testing “from a system based on whole-animal testing to one founded primarily on in vitro [nonanimal] methods.” 

While we are still reviewing the details of the bill introduced today – The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 – the legislation is a large step in the direction of the National Research Council’s vision for 21st century toxicology.  We are pleased to see that much of the language that PETA scientists and other experts in nonanimal testing strategies submitted to the legislators on reducing animal use and improving scientific evaluations was included. 

The bill appears to recognize that current test methods using animals are time-consuming, expensive, and unreliable. A single reproductive toxicity study takes two years, costs $380,000, and uses 2,600 animals. Multiplied by the 85,000 chemicals in use, it is obvious that even poisoning all the animals in the world in toxicity tests will not address the backlog of existing chemicals or keep up with newly-developed chemicals.

But the legislation should also mandate the use of available high tech, sophisticated nonanimal methods, as is required throughout the European Union, rather than only “encouraging” their use.  A mandate to develop and use the new methods is required to drive funding and innovation to better protect people, animals, and the environment. We will continue to push for this crucial language in the legislation.