Several years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to tackle the issue of determining the safety of nanomaterials—teeny-tiny particles that measure less than one-tenth of a micrometer (even smaller than the brain of the average Michael Vick fan) As soon as we learned about this initiative, our staff scientists began communicating with the EPA, urging the agency to use the most modern and sophisticated testing methods instead of automatically relying on archaic animal tests, as government agencies historically have, basically for no better reason than “we’ve always done it that way.”
Last week, our scientists’ hard work paid off: The EPA issued its final “Nanomaterials Research Strategy,” and it incorporates many of PETA’s recommendations. While the original draft still relied heavily on animal tests, the final plan takes full advantage of non-animal test methods. This will greatly reduce the number of animals killed in tests assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials.
Just as important, the research strategy reiterates the principles outlined in the strategic plan the EPA released this spring, which calls for identifying and using non-animal testing methods that will ultimately replace all animal tests for nanomaterials.
This is a win-win for PETA, animals, and the EPA. Oh, and the public wins, too, because reducing the use of animals in assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials also improves the agency’s ability to assess hazards to humans.
Written by Alisa Mullins