EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing

EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing
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The Trump administration is proposing a strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate certain animal testing in evaluating chemicals.

In a draft document released Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laid out a multiyear process to identify alternative testing methods, push those methods in the chemical industry and start to use them in regulatory decision-making.

Congress told the EPA to develop the strategy in the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

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“This draft strategy is a first step toward reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science to ensure chemicals are reviewed for safety with the highest scientific standards,” EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Trump’s EPA chooses coal over the American people MORE said in a statement.

“EPA is committed to working with animal welfare groups and other groups to produce a sound, effective plan in line with the law.”

Eventually, the EPA hopes to completely eliminate chemical testing on vertebrate animal species, a group that includes mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles, it said in the 40-page draft strategy.

“Achieving this goal will require the EPA to maintain a high level of commitment to identifying, developing, and integrating [new testing methods] for implementation under TSCA and to work closely with stakeholders at every step,” the agency said.

The animal testing provisions of the 2016 law were championed largely by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Judd Gregg: The collapse of the Senate Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.J.), an outspoken animal rights advocate. Booker and animal rights groups estimated that the EPA could reduce harm or deaths for hundreds of thousands of animals.

“We welcome the draft strategy as a progressive step to reduce and ultimately replace the use of animals to regulate chemicals in the U.S. through the implementation of TSCA reform,” Catherine Willett, director of science policy at the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement regarding the Wednesday release.

“We have every indication that EPA intends to make good on this unprecedented opportunity to not only reduce animal use, but improve the science used to evaluate chemical safety.”

The EPA will gather public comments on the draft strategy for 45 days.