WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The eventual elimination of chemical testing on mammals was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The agency plans a 30 percent reduction in the number of studies that require the use of mammals to test potentially harmful chemicals by 2025 and to halt such studies by 2035, although some approvals may be granted on a case-by-case basis, The New York Times reported. The EPA also announced that it will provide $4.25 million to four universities and a medical center to work on new ways of chemical testing that do not use animals.
The policy shift was welcomed by animal rights groups. "We are really excited as this has been something we've wanted for quite some time," Kitty Block, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, told The Times. "The alternatives are the future. They're more efficient and save lives."
However, the policy was questioned by environmentalists and scientists who said animal testing of chemicals is needed to protect human health. According to Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, animal testing of chemicals is still necessary because cells in a petri dish cannot yet replace whole living systems. She added that "the EPA's deadline is arbitrary. Our interest isn't in speed, it's getting it right. We want proper animal testing because we don't want harmful chemicals to end up in our food, air and water."