In September 2002, a coalition of animal rights groups led by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sued the Environmental Protection Agency over a voluntary chemical testing program.
The High Production Volume Challenge Program is a voluntary testing program created by the EPA, Environmental Defense and the American Chemical Council to obtain toxicity data on 2,800 common chemicals whose total production/importation exceeds 1 million pounds annually.
The animal rights groups objected to the program because it would mean more animal testing of these chemical compounds.
Chemical & Engineering News reports that on August 25 a federal judge dismissed part of the lawsuit while allowing another part to move forward to trial.
The animal rights groups lost on the point most germane to the animal testing issue. PCRM and the others claimed that the agreement between EPA, Environmental Defense and the American Chemical Council violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The act requires government agencies to accept public input when setting up programs. The lawsuit argued that by simply reaching a deal with Environmental Defense and the American Chemical Council, the EPA had denied animal rights groups the opportunity to make their case against animal testing.
But the judge hearing the case found that the EPA had not violated the Federal Advisory Act.
He did, however, allow the case to go to trial on whether the EPA had violated the Toxic Substances Control Act. As Chemical & Engineering News sums it up,
They [animal rights groups] say that by selecting the chemicals for the program, EPA determined that it needed toxicity data for these compounds. This determination, they contend, required EPA to issue a regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act to force chemical companies to produce the data — rather than set up a voluntary program.
Along with PCRM, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Alternatives Research and Development Foundation, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society were part of the lawsuit. Nice to see activists concerned about health trying to block a voluntary effort between industry and the government to improve toxicity data on commonly used chemicals.
Voluntary program passes legal hurdle. Cheryl Hogue, Chemical & Engineering News, September 8, 2003.
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