Doctors Call on EPA to Block Animal Tests on Severely Toxic Chemical
WASHINGTON—Scientists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block an industry plan to test the highly toxic and corrosive chemical nadic methyl anhydride on animals, calling the tests unnecessary and extraordinarily cruel.
The tests are planned by the Industrial Health Foundation, a consortium of chemical manufacturing companies, as part of the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge, a controversial program launched by the EPA in 1998. Among the proposed experiments are repeat dose poisoning tests, reproductive toxicity tests, and a fatal test on fish. PCRM maintains that the chemical nadic methyl anhydride is already known to be poisonous and, in fact, is already tightly regulated.
"Nadic methyl anhydride causes blindness and severe respiratory and skin reactions," said PCRM staff scientist Nicole Cardello, M.H.S. "Further tests on animals will not change how these chemicals are handled."
PCRM's criticism comes under the 120-day public comment period mandated by the HPV program. Unfortunately, the EPA has so far ignored public comments under the program and left test decision-making up to the chemical industry.
The HPV Challenge is a voluntary program in which chemical manufacturers gather data on the toxicity of chemicals produced or imported in quantities exceeding one million pounds per year. However, critics charge that the companies are blundering ahead, proposing tests that have already been conducted.
"The EPA seems to be paying no attention at all to the kinds of tests that are proposed," Ms. Cardello said. "Cruel and needless tests—one after another—seem to be the rule of the day."
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.