PCRM Helps Company Find Alternative to Animal Testing
Persistence pays—for animals in laboratories! A chemical corporation dropped its plan for duplicative testing of an industrial chemical, sparing the lives of more than 1,000 animals, after PCRM scientists repeatedly explained that the tests were unnecessary.
Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) High Production Volume (HPV) chemical challenge program, organizations such as PCRM can view and comment on any testing proposal put forward by chemical manufacturers. PCRM scientists Kristie Stoick, M.P.H., and Chad Sandusky, Ph.D., first commented on Ciba Specialty Chemical Corporation’s test plan for the chemical IRGANOX 1035 in December 2003. At that time, Ciba was proposing to conduct a developmental toxicity test, which would have killed approximately 1,300 rats.
Ms. Stoick and Dr. Sandusky wrote comments to the EPA and the company pointing out that the chemical has been shown to be relatively non-toxic in short- and medium-term toxicity tests already available and is approved as an indirect food additive by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, they added, further toxicity testing for IRGANOX 1035 would be completely unwarranted.
The EPA made comments that echoed PCRM’s concerns. Over the next few years, Ms. Stoick and Dr. Sandusky continued to call and e-mail Ciba scientists in order to get the company to reduce the number of animals killed. Meanwhile, PCRM worked on hundreds of other test plans, suggesting strategies such as “bridging”—using existing data for similar chemicals—to fulfill HPV testing endpoints.
This month, Ciba posted its revised test plan on the HPV Web site. While Ciba had previously agreed to conduct a combined protocol and use fewer animals, Ciba scientists—no doubt inspired by PCRM’s tireless prodding—went the extra mile and found existing data that were not publicly available for other chemicals that are similar to IRGANOX 1035, and they do not plan to conduct any animal testing at all.
With the support of our members, PCRM scientists are changing the way chemical companies view testing programs. These companies are proceeding more thoughtfully to avoid animal toxicity tests than ever before.