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EPA Continues Efforts to Reduce Animal Testing, Announces Guidance on Fish Testing

Guidance expected to save 240 test animals annually

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WASHINGTON (July 15, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another important step toward implementing Administrator Andrew Wheeler's directive to reduce animal testing by releasing a new guidance that reduces unnecessary testing on fish.

“This guidance will help EPA take great strides toward our goal of reducing animal testing,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It’s another example of how we can continue to protect human health and the environment and make science-based decisions about pesticide registrations without having to harm animals by testing.”

The guidance clarifies the number of treatment concentrations needed for acceptable fish bioconcentration factor (BCF) studies in the pesticide registration process. EPA routinely requires BCF studies to determine whether pesticide active ingredients can accumulate in fish, enter the food chain, and cause adverse effects in fish-eating predators. Under the new guidance, registrants can forego animal testing when there is enough additional information available to support a registration decision on outdoor pesticides. EPA expects this guidance will save an estimated 240 test animals per year as well as EPA, industry and laboratory resources.

“PETA applauds this step by the EPA to reduce the numbers of fish used in BCF studies,” said Dr. Gina Hilton of the Regulatory Testing Department at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “This action aligns the U.S. with Europe and saves lives without compromising environmental protection. We look forward to seeing efforts to incorporate in vitro methods into the regulatory decision-making process as well.”

As always, companies seeking registration must ensure study results meet other guideline specifications for BCF studies and that data is scientifically sound.

Last month, EPA announced a work plan that serves as a roadmap for meeting its animal testing reduction goals set forth last year by Administrator Wheeler. The agency also convened a conference in December 2019 to discuss New Approach Methods (NAMS)   for achieving reduced animal testing in chemical safety research and  issued a guidance in February 2020 waiving the testing of pesticides on birds when the information yielded is unnecessary to support a pesticide registration decision.

To read today's guidance on reducing fish testing, visit:

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to reduce animal testing, visit: