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EPA Seeks Comment on Draft Interim Science Policy to Reduce Animal Testing for Skin Sensitization
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By Carla N. Hutton

On April 10, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of a draft Science Policy document intended to reduce the use of animals in testing chemicals to evaluate whether they cause an allergic reaction, inflammation, or sensitization of the skin.  According to EPA, the document, Draft Interim Science Policy:  Use of Alternative Approaches for Skin Sensitization as a Replacement for Laboratory Animal Testing, “describes the science behind the non-animal alternatives that can now be used (in vitro, in silico, in chemico) to identify skin sensitization.”  The draft Science Policy states that the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) will immediately begin to accept submissions of new approach methodologies (NAM) and defined approaches (DA) as described in the draft Science Policy.  EPA notes that there are multiple domestic and international activities ongoing that will allow for refinement and expansion of this draft Science Policy to other DAs and additional NAMs and support global harmonization of DAs for skin sensitization.  According to the draft Science Policy, OPP and OPPT “will continue to be active participants in these activities to ensure regulatory acceptance and will continue to support cross-sector collaborations that enhance animal welfare, and accelerate the implementation of NAMs.”  Comments on the draft Science Policy document must be submitted to Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0093 by June 9, 2018.

The draft Science Policy is the result of national and international collaboration between the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, the National Toxicology Program’s Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.