Energy & Environment

EPA plan to limit animal testing raises toxic chemical regulation concerns: report


The Intercept reported Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to push ahead with a plan to phase out animal lab testing, which is raising concerns among some public health and environmental advocates who say the testing is needed to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals. 

EPA chief Andrew Wheeler signaled the agency will slash funding on experiments tested on mammals in half by 2025 and look to stop using mammal studies for the approval of new chemicals by 2035, in an internal department memo reviewed by The Intercept. 

The EPA, however, is denying The Intercept’s report that it is looking to phase out animal testing, calling it inaccurate. It did acknowledge it is seeking to reduce and replace animal testing requirements.

“Though, EPA does look to announce sometime soon agency goals to reduce the number of animals impacted by EPA testing. Human health will be fully protected under any final EPA policy goal to reduce reliance on animal testing,” an EPA spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “EPA can protect human health and simultaneously reduce, replace, and refine animal testing requirements.”

{mosads}According to The Intercept, the EPA is looking to use alternative methods to animal testing, such as computer modeling and tests on cells, to measure chemical toxicity.

However, scientists warn that the alternatives are not yet able to replicate mammal studies for regulation — which many say is the reason the federal agency is looking to make the policy change, The Intercept reports. 

“EPA is well aware that these cells don’t replicate human metabolism. So when it comes to bioactivation, they’re going to miss all that — and they know that,” Thomas Zoeller, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studies the health effects of man-made chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, told The Intercept. 

Tags Andrew Wheeler Animal testing Environmental Protection Agency

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