The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working on adding another tool to its growing toolbox for reducing the number of animals used in cruel, painful pesticide tests. It just announced the launch of a pilot program that asks pesticide companies to submit data from past animal-toxicity studies along with calculations from an equation that predicts a product’s overall toxicity.
The equation adds together the toxicities of the individual ingredients in pesticide formulations to reach a total hazard rating for the product. Currently, the EPA requires that any new pesticide formulation be tested on animals, even though toxicities for the individual ingredients are likely already known.
The agency says it will use submissions under the pilot program to evaluate how well the equation method works as an alternative to the oral and inhalation toxicity experiments on animals that are currently required.
Since the EPA receives 200 to 300 applications for new pesticide formulas every year, using the equation could save 5,000 or more animals each year from excruciatingly painful and deadly tests.
This newest initiative is the latest in a series of efforts to reduce the numbers of animals used in pesticide testing.