A discussion of the impact of US chemical regulation legislation on the field of toxicity testing.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC 20016, USA.Toxicology in Vitro (Impact Factor: 2.9). 05/2011; 25(6):1231-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.tiv.2011.05.005
Proposals for revising the principal United States law governing industrial chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act, have been under consideration in the US Congress for the past several years, and some version of such legislation may be passed in the near future. Concurrently, a desire to move away from current testing methods for ethical, scientific, and practical reasons has led to multi-million dollar investments in in vitro and computational toxicology methods and programs. Legislative language has the potential to endorse this transition and facilitate its fruition, or conversely enshrine in vivo testing methods for the foreseeable future. New legislation also has the potential to substantially increase the numbers of animals used in toxicity tests in the near term. However, there are a number of policies that, used effectively, can reduce the overall number of animals used in new toxicity tests. We present recent legislative proposals in the context of current testing programs and discuss their potential impacts on animal use, test method innovation, and achievement of desired legislative objectives. Discussions like these are essential to judiciously select policies that reduce the use of animals in toxicity testing and protect human health and the environment.