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EPA NAM Work Plan Intends to Reduce Use of Animals in Chemical Testing
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On June 24, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a New Approach Methods (NAM) Work Plan that will “serve[] as a roadmap for meeting its animal testing reduction goals set forth in Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s 2019 Directive.”  According to EPA’s June 24, 2020, press release, the Work Plan describes how EPA plans to develop, test, and apply chemical safety testing approaches that reduce or replace the use of animals.  EPA states that compared to traditional animal testing, NAMs allow researchers better to predict potential hazards for risk assessment purposes without the use of traditional methods that rely on animal testing.  The objectives of the Work Plan include:

  • Evaluating regulatory flexibility for the use of NAMs;
     
  • Establishing baselines and metrics for assessing progress;
     
  • Developing NAMs that fill critical information gaps;
     
  • Establishing scientific confidence in NAMs;
     
  • Demonstrating NAMs application to regulatory decisions; and
     
  • Engaging with stakeholders to incorporates their knowledge and address their concerns regarding EPA’s phaseout of mammalian testing.

EPA states that the Work Plan will evolve as EPA’s knowledge and experience grow and as outside experts offer their perspectives and contributions.  EPA will regularly review the Work Plan to ensure that the efforts involved provide the best path to success.  More information on the 2019 directive to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing is available in our September 11, 2019, blog item, “EPA Administrator Signs Directive Intended to Reduce Animal Testing, Awards $4.25 Million for Research on Alternative Methods to Animal Testing.”