Report Says EPA Program Is Flawed, Should End

In a new report submitted to EPA last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine calls for an end to the agency's High Production Volume (HPV) chemical testing program.

In a new report submitted to EPA last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) calls for an end to the agency''s High Production Volume (HPV) chemical testing program.

The program targets 2,800 chemicals for health and environmental testing.

PCRM, a nonprofit organization that promotes preventative medicine and higher standards in research, said it has pin-pointed major flaws in both individual chemical test plans and in the HPV program as a whole.

"In order to protect human health, EPA should halt the HPV testing program and instead focus on containment and regulation of toxic substances. Crude, duplicative animal tests, such as the ones called for in many of the test plans I have reviewed, will do nothing to protect the public or the environment," said Nicole Cardello, staff scientist. "Human exposure data, which are currently ignored by the program, should be assessed so that workers and the public can be protected from suspected carcinogens and other hazardous substances."

PCRM said one of the most significant findings of its new report is that out of the 24 chemical test plans that have undergone public review, 18 contain violations of animal welfare guidelines issued by the EPA.

The High Production Volume program, enacted by EPA in 1998 is a voluntary initiative that encourages manufacturers to conduct screening-level toxicity tests on 2,800 chemicals produced in or imported to the United States in amounts exceeding 1 million pounds per year.

PCRM argues in its report, that many of the chemicals slated for tests using rats, mice and fish are already suspected human carcinogens or known toxins subject to regulatory controls.

"Clearly, the HPV chemical testing program is a waste of taxpayer money and serves only to delay meaningful regulatory action," concluded Cardello.

by Virginia Foran

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