The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $849,811 to University of California Riverside as part of a total of $4.25 million in funding to five universities to research the development and use of alternative test methods and strategies that reduce, refine and/or replace vertebrate animal testing. Furthering these efforts, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a memo titled, “Directive to Prioritize Efforts to Reduce Animal Testing.”
“Today’s memo directs the agency to aggressively reduce animal testing, including reducing mammal study requests and funding 30% by 2025 and completely eliminating them by 2035,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are also awarding $4.25 million to advance the research and development of alternative test methods for evaluating the safety of chemicals that will minimize, and hopefully eliminate, the need for animal testing.”
“We are excited to support U.C. Riverside’s work in helping reduce the use of animal testing and improve our understanding of chemical safety,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.
University of California Riverside will use the grant to use human cells to develop a cost-effective endpoint to characterize potential skeletal embryotoxicants.
In addition, Administrator Wheeler called for the agency to aggressively pursue a reduction in animal testing. The memo states, EPA will reduce its requests for, and funding of, mammal studies by 30% by 2025 and eliminate all mammal study requests and funding by 2035. Any mammal studies requested or funded by EPA after 2035 will require administrator approval on a case by case basis. It directs leadership and staff in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and the Office of Research and Development to prioritize ongoing efforts and to direct existing resources toward additional activities that will demonstrate measurable impacts in the reduction of animal testing while ensuring protection of human health and the environment.
In accordance with the memo, EPA will hold an annual conference on new approach methods beginning in 2019.