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The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) has been granted leave to intervene on another animal test case at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Only organisations with the necessary expertise are allowed to intervene.
The ECEAE applied to intervene because of the significant implications of the case for the acceptance of alternative methods to replace animal testing for chemicals. The Dow Chemical Company is appealing a decision by ECHA to force them to conduct a prenatal developmental toxicity test on rats for one of their substances. The substance is dipropylene glycol methyl ether acetate (DPMA) and is used as a solvent for printing inks. The study would involve force feeding high doses of the solvent to pregnant rats and then killing them and their babies one day before they are due to give birth. Dow calculates that nearly 1500 animals would be involved.
The company do not want to conduct the test because they have enough evidence from similar, non-toxic substances. Their submission to the Agency included this ‘read across’ approach which is a type of alternative where the information gap in question is filled by ‘reading across’ from information for similar substances instead of doing another animal test. The approach was accepted for DPMA by a key international body called the OECD, of which most European countries are a member.
Dr Katy Taylor representing the ECEAE states; “We are pleased to have been granted leave for the second time to intervene on a case of this nature at the European Chemicals Agency. We believe the ‘read across’ approach used by Dow is scientifically sound and we are dismayed, yet again, at the Agency’s overly conservative approach in rejecting it. The case has wider implications for the acceptance of ‘read across’ which could impact on thousands of animals under REACH”.