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EPA Releases Draft Policy to Reduce Animal Testing for Skin Sensitization

For Release: April 10, 2018

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft Science Policy to reduce the use of animals in testing chemicals to evaluate whether they cause an allergic reaction, inflammation or sensitization of the skin. The draft policy is open for public comment until June 9, 2018.

“This draft policy is another step toward achieving EPA's goal of reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science in chemical testing,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The document, Draft Interim Science Policy: Use of Alternative Approaches for Skin Sensitization as a Replacement for Laboratory Animal Testing, describes the science behind the non-animal alternatives that can now be used (in vitro, in silico, in chemico) to identify skin sensitization. EPA currently requires these data to support pesticide registrations.

Given the substantial scientific evidence and international activities supporting the new methodologies for skin sensitization testing, EPA will begin accepting these approaches immediately under the conditions described in the draft policy document.

This draft policy is the result of national and international collaboration between the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, the National Toxicology Program’s Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

Comments on the draft skin sensitization policy must be submitted to docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0093 at on or before June 9, 2018.

Under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership, the Agency has made strides to reduce the use of animal testing. Last month, EPA fulfilled another milestone in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), when it released a draft strategySearch EPA Archive to reduce or replace the use of vertebrate animals in tests of chemical substances manufactured, processed, or imported in the United States. Find the draft plan and how to comment on it here.