Podcast: Green toxicology can help reduce animal experimentation
According to Alex Maertens, director of the Green Toxicology Initiative and member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, the typical approach is to look at the effects of a chemical in rats and make a couple of adjustments to ensure its safety. However, this approach does not indicate what receptors were triggered to cause the effects, which makes it impossible to resolve the problem. The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing is developing assays that can answer these questions quickly and without the used of animals.
Alex Maertens thinks we can quickly get to a point where very little animal testing is used, by prioritizing our chemicals better and rolling out some risks very quickly. People haven't been considering that there is an enormous amount of human data available that can allow us to detect risks that animal testing cannot. For example, some correlation between trans fats and heart attack were through epidemiology testing but not through animal testing.