To date, much of the discussion around improving the way chemicals are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has focused on the goal of creating a system that is more protective of human health. However, there is another goal that should not be overlooked – protecting the welfare of animals.
This important issue was raised earlier this month during a briefing on Capitol Hill led by Dr. Paul Locke of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) along with Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who co-chairs the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus.
According to a report (subscription required) from Jeremy Jacobs at Environment & Energy Daily, Locke said:
more must be done to require agencies including U.S. EPA, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration along with the chemical industry to end animal testing.
Or more specifically, the need to “reduce, refine, and replace” animal testing when it comes to evaluating chemicals.
We agree with Dr. Locke that more can be done, which is why ACC has worked with organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to develop a set of animal welfare priorities that have been incorporated into ACC’s Principles for Modernizing TSCA. For example, ACC supports giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the flexibility to use data from a variety of test methods not just animal testing.
As Dr. Locke points out, one of the more promising alternative test methods is the groundbreaking Tox21 program that can improve how chemicals are tested without relying on the use of animals. ACC has invested more than $10 million through our Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) to help advance the goals of innovative programs like Tox21
We also support the objectives outlined in the National Academy of Sciences report, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy” that promotes the use of alternative methods to collect data chemicals.
As Wayne Pacelle (President and CEO of the Humane Society) aptly explains:
The Academy advocates moving away from conventional animal test requirements toward a combination of modern computer-based and human-relevant systems biology approaches that can deliver results in days rather than years, and at a small fraction of the cost of animal testing. In fact, many of the participating scientists envision the complete replacement of animal tests, and see this work as prompting a long overdue, and desperately needed, revolution in the regulation of chemicals.
We’re encouraged by Dr. Locke’s efforts to keep this issue at the forefront on Capitol Hill. By working together with federal agencies and stakeholders, we believe that a modernized TSCA can and should be protective of both human health and animal welfare.