The PETA International Science Consortium (PISC) is extremely disappointed that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Board of Appeal has upheld a decision that requires Dow Benelux B.V.to conduct a pre-natal developmental toxicity study in rats. The study will use approximately 1160 animals and expose pregnant rats and their unborn pups to the substance dipropylene glycol methyl ether acetate (DPMA) in order to comply with the European Community's Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
PISC urges the Board of Appeal to demonstrate greater independence when making decisions regarding the justification of read-across arguments in future appeal cases.
The substance DPMA hydrolyses to dipropylene glycol methyl ether (DPM), for which data are already available. In an appeal filed on January 24, 2012, the company rightfully argued that the testing requirement was, therefore, satisfied using read-across arguments.
The Board of Appeal's decision means that pregnant rats will be forced to consume high concentrations of the chemical over a 16 day period before being killed and their offspring, dissected. Read-across arguments are a mechanism by which large numbers of animal tests can be avoided which makes this decision even more disappointing as it may unjustifiably discourage other chemical manufacturers from using valid read-across arguments which could ultimately lead to hundreds of thousands of additional animals being used. As many as ten million animals could be used in testing conducted for REACH.
The European Ombudsman is currently considering a complaint submitted by PETA in July 2012 alleging that ECHA is failing to ensure that animal testing is conducted only as a "last resort," as required by the REACH regulation.