Product Testing Background

Based upon the traditional assumption that animals respond the same way that humans do when exposed to certain products, animals are continually used to test safety and/or effectiveness of drugs, household and personal care products, chemicals, medical devices, etc. However, animals are not 'little people,' and their bodies often respond differently than humans. As a result, the animal-based testing methods continue to fail legitimate human needs, while new discoveries in the field of alternatives have led to new and improved techniques that do not involve live animals.

While the federal validation of non-animal alternative test methods continues to be a slow and frustrating process, new laws and public concerns about safety, have pushed the need for better and cheaper alternative methods. In February 2008, three federal agencies, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Toxicology Program, and the Environmental Protection Agency, announced the establishment of a five-year plan to investigate new technologies that would allow for the rapid testing of large numbers of chemicals while also providing results more applicable to humans. The agencies predict that success of these high throughput mechanisms would result in a “reduction or replacement of animals in regulatory testing.” Never before has science, public policy, and consumer demand all been pushing toward the same goal of more effective testing methods without the use of animals.
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