Environmentalists lock horns over animal testing

Unfortunately, the environmentalist movement’s obsession with chemicals is such that it is translating into government policy. Congress was poised to pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. According to Five Thirty Eight bill would not only reduce many EPA programs and subprograms but would simultaneously increase funding for the agency’s testing of chemical testing in consumer products as required.

One would think that environmentalists would show a united front with Lautenberg Act since it requires the EPA to test for chemicals found in consumer products. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has been the main green lobbying group pushing for the Lautenberg bill to pass. There is just one problem, the Humane Society is raising objections to it since it may involve the use of animals in the EPA’s analyses. Five Thirty Eight explains:

Some of those experiments are “in vitro” — they’re done in a test tube (or, more accurately, in one of dozens of tubes packed together like a honeycomb) using human or animal cells. Others, though, are “in vivo,” conducted in the bodies of living creatures such as rats or zebra fish. Representatives from both the Humane Society and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families said they want to see the Lautenberg Act implemented. But the Humane Society is concerned that the EPA’s specific plan will increase the number of animals who die on our behalf.

In particular, the Humane Society is worried about an extra step that’s been added to the process. As legislated, the Lautenberg Act was a two-step system meant to help the EPA move quickly through tens of thousands of substances: First, prioritize chemicals based on potential for risk, then evaluate the safety of those designated “high priority.” And the EPA’s proposed plan retains this framework. Once a chemical enters the prioritization phase, the EPA has nine to 12 months to figure out whether it should be low priority or high priority. Low-priority chemicals are effectively set aside, as far as the evaluation process is concerned, and the industry can keep using them as before. Meanwhile, high-priority chemicals enter the evaluation phase, where the EPA has three years to figure out what risk the substance poses to human health and how it should be regulated. But the EPA has added a step: The pre-prioritization phase, a time for figuring out what data exists for a given chemical and whether the agency has enough information to truly know how the chemical should be prioritized. And, unlike the other steps, there’s no ticking clock for pre-prioritization. It could last a month. It could last years. “It creates this new sort of black box where they’ll ask for all the info they think they’ll need for the entire risk-assessment process,” said Kate Willett, director of regulatory toxicology, risk assessment and alternatives for the Humane Society. Willett thinks there’s a lack of transparency here that could result in companies feeling pressured to conduct new animal research for chemicals that might end up classified as low priority anyway, a scenario that, she said, would make those animals’ deaths a waste.

In many ways it makes sense for EPA to test for chemicals in products since it can help prevent exposure to harmful agents. However, what is beautiful is seeing two groups who are part of the effort to kill off humans indirectly fight among each other despite their agreement on many more issues than they disagree. This, in turn, results in holding up a bill that could put more requirements on companies that utilize chemicals in their products (such as toys, cell phones or even cosmetics).

The entire controversy surrounding the Lautenberg bill isn’t indicative of a split among environmentalists but it demonstrates the totalitarian nature of their movement. Environmentalism isn’t just destructive to human life outside their campaigns and civilization in general it is also anti-human to the point where environmentalists will even oppose each other over ideological differences.

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