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Animal advocates praise EPA for efforts to reduce painful skin tests on animals

WASHINGTON, DC (April 11, 2018)—The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund praise the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for issuing its draft policy that encourages the use of non-animal testing methods. The policy’s recommendations apply to methods used in assessing the potential of pesticides and industrial chemicals to cause skin allergies.

In the EPA’s official statement on the draft policy, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated, “This draft policy is another step toward achieving EPA's goal of reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science in chemical testing.”

Traditional animal tests for skin allergies involve the application of a test chemical to the skin of guinea pigs or mice, who are later killed and examined for signs of an allergic response. However, recent studies have shown that non-animal methods are more accurate than traditional animal tests in predicting allergic skin reactions in humans.

“We commend the EPA for taking this important step toward eliminating the use of animals by adopting more human-relevant methods of testing,” said Catherine Willett, director of regulatory toxicology, risk assessment and alternatives for The HSUS and HSI. “We urge the agency to move quickly to extend the scope and replace all animal use for skin allergy testing.”

The draft interim policy, titled Use of Alternative Approaches for Skin Sensitization as a Replacement for Laboratory Animal Testing supports the use of non-animal methods for single chemical substances, such as pesticide active ingredients, but not mixtures or formulations. However, the EPA is currently working to extend the policy to formulations.


  • EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is working to reduce its reliance on animal testing for acute toxicity, an effort outlined in a letter to stakeholders in 2016, when it also released guidance to eliminate the need for lethal-dose skin tests for pesticide ingredients.
  • Also in 2016, HSLF and The HSUS campaigned for the passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which revised the Toxic Substances Control Act. TSCA covers industrial chemicals and requires the minimization of animal testing with a clear preference for the development and use of alternative methods and strategies.
  • HSUS and HSI have been working to support the science to replace animal testing for skin allergy and other health concerns on a number of national and international fronts, including the test guidelines program of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Media Contact: Shayna McClelland:; 301.258.1534


The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at