In a September 17 news release, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a draft science policy to reduce testing of pesticides on birds when registering conventional outdoor pesticides. The draft science policy is based on a retrospective study by EPA and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that explored the quantitative and qualitative contributions of risk assessment methods using single oral dose and subacute dietary toxicity endpoints to the overall conclusions of acute avian risk. The analysis indicated that, in most cases, the subacute dietary results had little impact on risk conclusions arrived upon by use of acute oral data alone. This finding is expected to reduce the number of animals tested by a total of 60 birds per test, for a total projected animal savings of over 700 animals per year. The news release is available at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-releases-draft-policy-reduce-pesticide-testing-birds. The draft policy can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-09/documents/draft-waiver-guidance-avian-sub-acute-dietary.pdf.
An article in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology co-authored by ICCVAM co-chair Anna Lowit summarizes the activities of EPA‚Äôs Hazard and Science Policy Council (HASPOC). HASPOC was established in 2012 by the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs to consider requests for waiving animal study requirements for human health risk assessments. Since its inception, HASPOC has evaluated over 1,000 requests to waive animal studies and granted waivers in response to nearly 90% of requests. These waivers have saved over 200,000 animals, $300 million in study costs, and $6 million in study review costs. The article is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2019.104481