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EPA Will Hold Webinar in May 2022 on Reducing Vertebrate Animal Testing
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 18, 2022, that it will hold a webinar on May 11, 2022, entitled “Data-Driven Solutions to Reducing Animal Use in Ecotoxicity.” Speakers will include:

  • Carlie LaLone, Ph.D., EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD), on “The Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility (SeqAPASS) Tool: Extrapolating Knowledge Computationally.” EPA states that regulatory decision-making for chemical safety relies upon toxicity data generated from laboratory test species for the protection of wildlife in the environment. Typically, ecological risk assessments integrate safety factors to account for interspecies variability. According to EPA, the SeqAPASS tool is a more informed way to extrapolate knowledge from model species to other species that does not require the use of animals in toxicity testing and instead uses existing protein sequence knowledge. LaLone will describe EPA’s SeqAPASS tool and its applications for cross-species extrapolation relative to understanding conservation of biology and predicting chemical susceptibility.
  • Michael Lowit, Ph.D., EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), on “Exploring Potential Reductions in Fish Testing in a Regulatory Context.” According to EPA, as part of its commitment to reducing animal testing, OPP is conducting retrospective analyses of existing data to evaluate critically which EPA guideline studies form the basis of regulatory decisions. EPA states that the results from these analyses can inform if reductions can be made to the number of animals used without reducing the quality of ecological risk assessments. EPA is currently conducting a retrospective analysis for fish acute toxicity tests, which are used by OPP to assess potential risk to fish species from pesticides. For each pesticide, EPA typically requires in vivo testing of three different fish species. Lowit will focus on the relative sensitivity among species subjected to in vivo fish acute toxicity studies. The results of this analysis will inform whether there is a basis for reducing the number of species while providing sufficient information to support pesticide registration decisions.

The webinar is co-organized by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Science Consortium International, EPA, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). EPA notes that it does not necessarily endorse the views of the speakers. Registration is now open.