EPA's New Approach Methods Work Plan Focuses on Decreasing Use of Chemical Testing on Animals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated its New Approach Methods (NAMs) Work Plan. Initially published in 2020, the Plan is designed to help focus the EPA’s efforts to decrease the use of animals in the testing of chemical substances. In this blog post, we consider the topic of animal testing and review the NAMs Work Plan’s principal objectives.

Animal Testing

Employing the use of animal (non-human) subjects in research to determine how they are affected by the control of certain variables, animal testing has long been utilized for a variety of applications. Some of the more common ones have included the testing of cosmetics and personal care products, assessing the safety of household products, evaluating potential treatments for diseases, and researching the toxicological effects of other chemical substances. While it has seen widespread use, animal testing can be a costly and time-consuming process. Fraught with ethical implications, it is also an increasingly controversial practice.

NAMs Work Plan Key Goals

Several key goals underlie the NAMs Work Plan:

  • Evaluating Regulatory Flexibility for Accommodating the Use of NAMs

    • The EPA plans to conduct an analysis of current policies and regulations to identify animal testing requirements enabling flexibility for the utilization of NAMs.
  • Developing Baselines and Metrics for Assessing Progress

    • Metrics used by the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention will be modified accordingly and applied by other offices within the Agency.
  • Establishing Scientific Confidence in NAMs and Demonstrating Application to Regulatory Decisions

    • The EPA will characterize the relevance and quality of animal testing methods and establish a scientific confidence framework for use in the assessment of NAMs.
  • Developing NAMs to Address Scientific Challenges and Fill Important Information Gaps

    • In an effort to help address information gaps, the Agency intends to develop research plans on a regular basis to foster cooperation between regulators and scientists in the development of NAMs. The EPA also plans to facilitate NAM development via organizational partnerships and grants.
  • Engaging and Communicating with Stakeholders

    • To increase engagement with stakeholders and to improve understanding of NAM data, the Agency will conduct workshops and other learning sessions. The EPA is also seeking stakeholder feedback on NAM information.

More information on the EPA's New Approach Methods Work Plan may be found on the Agency’s website.

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