New US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy will stop painful LD50 skin test on rabbits
Companies are required to conduct certain toxicology tests in order to register or market chemicals, and many of these are animal tests. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been working, together with other groups and companies, to replace animal tests with better and more human-relevant tests and to reduce the number of animals killed in tests by eliminating, where possible, tests that aren’t used to make regulatory decisions.
Three of the most common—and most painful—tests conducted are referred to as “lethal dose 50” or “LD50” tests. They are designed to find the amount of a chemical that kills half of a population. In these tests animals are forced to inhale chemicals, ingest chemicals, or have chemicals applied to their skin, until they die from the chemical’s effects or are killed at the end of the test.
This decision not only saves animals—it also frees up resources at companies and at the EPA, funds that can be spent on replacing even more animal tests with human-relevant methods, helping to ensure that the EPA realizes its mission to protect human health and the environment while achieving the goal it shares with the Physicians Committee of eventually replacing all animal tests.
This latest policy is just the most recent in a slew of new EPA policies reducing or replacing animals in toxicology testing.