Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EPA Moving Away From Animal Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reducing its reliance on animal testing to assess human risk of chemical toxicity and will instead focus more heavily on the tools made possible by advances in molecular biology, genomics and computational modeling.

The move is part of the EPA's effort to find better, cheaper and faster ways to screen thousands of chemicals for human risk, including the ways in which toxicity occurs, the impact of long-term exposure to various chemicals, and how chemicals effect genetic variations of the population.

"Right now, there isn't enough capacity to test all the chemicals we want information on," Robert Kavlock, director of EPA's computational toxicology program, told GreenBiz.com Wednesday.

The agency asked its various departments about high-priority chemicals for which they'd most want information. After compiling the list of nearly 10,000 chemicals and consulting the public literature, the EPA discovered it didn't know whether two-thirds of the chemicals on this list caused cancer in animals; for 90 percent of the chemicals, it didn't know their effects on reproduction.

The "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Strategic Plan for Evaluating the Toxicity of Chemicals," (PDF) released today, will also enable the agency to study how toxicity impacts children. Read the entire article.

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