PETA Supports EPA Against Lawsuits That Could Increase Animal Testing

Group Sides With Federal Agency in Suits Threatening Increase in Animal Tests, Contrary to Updated Toxic Substances Control Act

For Immediate Release:
August 10, 2018

Tasgola Bruner 404-907-4172

San Francisco

PETA filed two amicus briefs this week in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after environmental and other groups sued the agency. The first case, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et al, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, revolves, in part, around whether the agency, when evaluating the risks posed by an existing chemical, has discretion under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to exclude from consideration conditions of use that produce no or very little human exposure so that it can focus on the exposures of greatest concern.

PETA contends that if petitioners prevail and the EPA is required to consider every condition of use for a chemical, animal testing is likely to be required—even though a particular condition of use may produce insignificant exposures.

The second case, National Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, relates to whether, in its consideration of a new chemical, the EPA can defer addressing some potential uses until the agency receives notice that such uses are actually intended. This reasonable approach would lead the EPA to require fewer animal tests because these uses may never occur.

PETA contends that the EPA’s approach has the potential to save agency resources and spare animals’ lives, in keeping with TSCA’s clear mandate to reduce the use of animals in chemical tests.

If successful, the organizations suing the EPA could undermine the animal reduction measures in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LSCA), which was passed in 2016 with the aim of modernizing the way in which chemicals are regulated and tested, because it would mean a vast increase in the number of animals who suffer and die in the EPA’s required animal tests.

“The Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act was a big step forward in fixing a broken system that relied largely on painful, pointless animal tests that didn’t protect people or the environment,” says PETA Vice President for Regulatory Testing Jessica Sandler. “PETA has challenged the status quo of animal experiments for decades and stands with the EPA against actions that threaten the move away from animal testing toward superior and humane research methods.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—notes that in toxicity testing, animals are typically poisoned via forced intubation, smearing corrosive and irritating substances on their skin, or squeezing them into narrow tubes to inhale toxic vapors. However, the LSCA requires the EPA and chemical manufacturers to develop, implement, and use non-animal testing methods to the extent practicable.

LCSA legislation represents the first significant change to the EPA’s 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. As a result of the EPA’s chemical testing policies to date, millions of animals have suffered and died in chemical toxicity tests, while only a handful of dangerous industrial chemicals have been banned.

PETA is represented in both actions by the firm Barnes & Thornburg, LLC.

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