By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host its first annual conference to discuss alternative test methods and strategies to reduce animal testing on December 17, 2019, in Washington, D.C. According to EPA, the conference will bring together some of the leading voices in environmental and health research to discuss efforts to reduce testing on mammals. The conference will focus on the New Approach Methods (NAM) and will feature presentations by U.S. and international scientific experts on advancements in the field. On-site participants will have the opportunity to exchange information about scientific advancements in the NAMs field to develop a better understanding of the state of the science, discuss approaches for developing scientific confidence in using alternatives, and summarize existing studies characterizing the uncertainties in results from animal testing. The public can register to participate via webinar.
As reported in our September 11, 2019, blog item, on September 10, 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a directive to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing. The directive states that EPA “will reduce its requests for, and [its] funding of, mammal studies by 30 percent by 2025 and eliminate all mammal study requests and funding by 2035. Any mammal studies requested or funded by the EPA after 2035 will require Administrator approval on a case-by-case basis.”
EPA notes that over the past several years, it has made significant scientific advancements in NAMs and has led efforts to reduce, replace, and refine its animal testing requirements. On December 5, 2019, EPA updated the list of NAMs that it developed pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended by the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. EPA states that it “will continue to lead the way among federal agencies in the United States and internationally.”