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The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) is today presenting its case at the oral hearing of an appeal by the Dow Chemical Company. This presentation is an example of the important role the ECEAE plays in trying to limit the impact on animals of EU legislation.
The Dow Chemical Company is appealing a decision made by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to force them to conduct a prenatal developmental toxicity test on rats for one of its substances.
The substance is dipropylene glycol methyl ether acetate (DPMA) and is used as a solvent. The experiment 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 1,500 animals would be involved.
The company does not want to conduct the test because it has enough evidence from similar, non-toxic substances. Its submission to the ECHA included this ‘read across’ approach 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.
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 ECEAE was granted leave to intervene last year due to its recognised experience with animal testing and REACH.
Dr Katy Taylor representing the ECEAE states: “This case relates to the acceptance by the Agency of an important non-animal approach - ‘read across’. We are very concerned about the Agency’s initial decision on this substance. If the Agency’s conservative approach is upheld, this could negatively impact on tens of thousands of animals under REACH”.