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anonymous *NEWS* ABOUT CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS October 04, 2006 7:07 AM

Here's a place for those news items you spot about a breakthrough (or setback) in the cruelty-free products market.
River  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
A few interestings news items! October 05, 2006 4:46 AM

These are a little old, but no worries...

Beauty Comes With Price

HSUS and Doris Day Animal League Merge

Why Killing Lab Rats Is Good

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anonymous Another! October 05, 2006 6:08 AM

And here's the item to which Melanie was referring in another thread!
Victory! Cosmetics Companies Bow to Pressure, Remove Toxic Chemical From Nail Polish  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous Not the good news . . . October 15, 2006 7:06 AM

This is a week old - - saw it but forgot to post -
The Sunday Times October 08, 2006 Millions of animals to die in new EU chemical tests
Nicola Smith Brussels
TENS of millions of rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are facing a painful death in laboratory experiments to be imposed next April because of new European Union rules on chemical testing. The new laws will set compulsory tests for about 30,000 chemicals that have been on the market since before 1981, when there were no stringent health and safety requirements. Many of the chemicals are used in household items, from shampoo to children’s toys, and EU policymakers have pushed for the new standards, arguing that too little is known about the dangers for human health and the environment. Products will have to stop using unsafe chemicals or be banned, but the tests cannot be carried out without the “collateral damage” to millions of animals. Campaigners protest that . . . .
But do please read on:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2394028,00.html

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Animal testing could be cut by cancer team October 16, 2006 2:00 PM

Animal testing could be cut by cancer team

DRUG testing on animals could be drastically reduced thanks to work by scientists at a Manchester University "spin-off" company.

In a move welcomed by British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection campaigners, university researchers have won £130,000 funding to develop new, animal-free techniques to test drugs.

Existing tests to establish whether a new drug is cancerous can be inconclusive and require further testing on live animals.

But Dr Richard Walmsley and colleagues at, Gentronix, a university spin-off company he founded, have developed techniques using cultured human cells to effectively weed out cancer causing compounds.

This would reduce the need for animal testing to check the safety of new compounds.

The new testing process has proved very reliable at identifying if a drug will cause cancer but some chemicals, called promutagens, only become carcinogenic once they have passed through the body's liver.

This grant will help develop new non-animal experiments to identify these other toxic compounds and further reduce the need for animal testing.

The funding has been awarded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research.

It is hoped the new test will not only reduce the number of compounds tested on animals but also ensure harmless chemicals that could be useful for new drugs are not falsely labelled as carcinogens.

Short term

Dr Walmsley, who is based in the university's Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "I don't believe that animal testing will disappear from drug safety assessment in the short term as you can't ask human volunteers to take novel drugs straight from testing done in tube tests.

"But if we can refine the pre-animal tests and increase people's confidence in them, then we will be able to reduce the number of chemicals that are tested on live animals."

Gentronix was founded by Dr Walmsley in 1999 to commercialise technology developed at the university.

This innovative biotechnology company also aims to accelerate the pace of drug developmentby developing tools for scientists.

As well as funding two researchers for the project for a year, the grant will help provide new equipment.

British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection campaigner Dave Powell said: "While we applaud Dr Richard Walmsley's great work to reduce animal suffering in the name of drug safety testing, it's almost criminal that non-animal researchers have to go around with a begging cup to fund their research.

"Animal experiments have failed to deliver us cures to the diseases we so desperately need - cancer rates are up, we still don't have a vaccine for Aids.

"It's time for cutting edge, non-animal methods to be given the chance they need to develop."

Link To News Article

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Fear of animal testing spurs concern October 18, 2006 2:37 PM

Fear of animal testing spurs concern
Wants Surprise to terminate biotech deals if any occurs

Erin Zlomek
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 18, 2006 12:00 AM

As Surprise negotiates to get a biotechnology facility, resident Paula Forster has one major concern: animal testing.

Before the Surprise City Council voted at its last meeting to move the biotech project forward, Forster asked members if they would terminate a biotech deal should they find out animal testing would be involved.

City Attorney Michael Bailey interrupted Forster, saying her question was not relevant, as the project is in early planning phases. He advised council members not to answer her question.
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"Cruelty-Free" Means People, Too October 19, 2006 8:33 AM

This may be "old news," but I just discovered it on the "Rustle the Leaf" Blog. http://www.rustletheleaf.com/
Anyone have any later news on this outrage?

EPA's Latest Human Pesticide Testing Rule Called Illegal, Immoral

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2006 (EN - Three U.S. legislators are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw a planned rule to permit pesticide experimentation on humans, including pregnant and nursing mothers and children.

The final draft rule is set to be officially released later this week, but a copy was leaked to leaked to the legislators by a concerned administration official who requested that the original copy of the plan not be duplicated in its entirety and widely distributed out of concern for anonymity.

Monday, California legislators Senator Barbara Boxer, and Representatives Henry Waxman and Hilda Solis released details of the rule and called on EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to withdraw the rule, calling it a "profound moral and ethical breach."

“This rule has not been signed by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson yet. It’s within his power to fix this regulation, and we are calling on him to do so,” said Senator Boxer.

Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer of California is among legislators requesting that the EPA withdraw its pesticide dosing plan. (Photo courtesy Office of the Senator)

In August 2005, Congress enacted a moratorium upon the EPA using human pesticide experiments until strict ethical standards were established. Boxer championed the moratorium in the U.S. Senate. Solis pushed the moratorium through the U.S. House of Representatives.

The law creating the moratorium passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support, which included conservative Republicans, who questioned the ethics of testing toxic chemicals on humans.

But the leaked final draft rule would allow manufacturers to conduct testing of pesticides upon pregnant women and children so long as there is no “intent” at the outset of the study to submit the results to the EPA.

Additionally, the plan would allow pesticides to be tested upon pregnant women and children in studies intended for submission to the EPA at exposure levels up to the current legal limits – even though the National Academy of Sciences found that in some cases this level of exposure could present acute risks to children.

“The regulation is an open invitation to test pesticides on humans, which is the exact opposite of what Congress intended,” said Waxman. “The administration predicts that over 30 pesticide experiments will be submitted to EPA each year under the new rule. That’s an enormous step in the wrong direction.”

child

Children could be exposed to intentional doses of pesticides to test their responses under the new EPA final draft plan. (Photo courtesy EPA)

People with high levels of pesticides in their blood are far more likely to develop genetic mutations linked with cancers, birth defects, and neurological disorders peer-reviewed scientific studies across the world have documented.

In its moratorium legislation, Congress required that the EPA establish a Human Subjects Review Board (HSR as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy urged that this Board review research protocols prior to consideration by an Independent Review Board (IR.

The Academy expected that the HSRB would have ethical and pesticide expertise that IRBs typically lack. This approach would allow an IRB to block unethical research or require modifications suggested by the Human Subjects Review Board prior to the initiation of a study.

But the final draft rule would establish a powerless Human Subjects Review Board that would consider research protocols after an IRB and EPA staff had already approved a study. Under the administration plan, the Human Subjects Review Board would not have any authority to block or require modifications to unethical research.

“The administration plan is inconsistent with the law passed by Congress with bipartisan support," said Boxer. "The loopholes which allow continued testing on pregnant women, infants and children are contrary to law and widely accepted ethical guidelines, including the Nuremberg code. The fact that EPA allows pesticide testing of any kind on the most vulnerable, including abused and neglected children, is simply astonishing."

The EPA final draft rule introduces new loopholes that will allow for ethical abuse, the legislators warn. While the plan would require researchers to document their ethical compliance in the United States when the plan applies to them, it waives overseas researchers from having to prove a study was ethically conducted – even when the researcher intends to submit the study to EPA.

The rule would subject EPA observational studies to the Common Rule, which states general standards of ethical conduct for research. However, observational studies conducted by the pesticide industry would be bound by no specific ethical requirements. These loopholes were never suggested or even contemplated by Congress, the three legislators say.

Johnson

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson defends pesticide dosing experiments as necessary for information on which to base regulations  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
(continued) October 19, 2006 8:37 AM

On April 8, 2005, Administrator Johnson cancelled a controversial Children's Health Environmental Exposure Research Study that would have allowed pesticide dosing of children.

"The Children's Health Environmental Exposure Research Study was designed to fill critical data gaps in our understanding of how children may be exposed to pesticides (such as bug spray) and chemicals currently used in households," Johnson said then." Information from the study was intended to help EPA better protect children."

"As a scientist and a 24-year employee of the EPA, I have a deep passion for the Agency's mission to protect human health and the environment," Johnson said at the time. "Continual review and reassessment is a fundamental aspect of scientific progress, and I am committed to ensuring that EPA's research is based on sound science with the highest ethical standards."

Erik Olson, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council says the EPA's latest rule is not justified legally or ethically. “EPA is giving its official blessing for pesticide companies to use pregnant women, infants and children as lab rats in flagrant violation of a new federal law cracking down on this repugnant practice. There is simply no legal or moral justification for the agency to allow human testing of dangerous chemicals. None.”

Attorney Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) says his organization objects to the plan because it allows dosing experiments involving infants and pregnant women using non-pesticide chemicals. "Thus, companies will be free to test agents such as perchlorate on nursing mothers. The proposal only forbids (with loopholes) pesticide dosing studies using children and pregnant women."

pesticide

Pesticide applications require the use of protective garments and masks. (Photo courtesy Citizens Campaign for the Environment) "When I asked the EPA representative at the 'stakeholders' meeting about this discrepancy, he admitted it and explained that the agency was only trying to respond to the biggest source of public controversy, that being pesticide experiments," Ruch told ENS in an email interview.

One very large omission in the proposed EPA rule is any prohibition or check against paying poor people amounts that would induce them to sign informed consent papers or falsely certify that they were already exposing themselves to the chemical under study, Ruch said.

Ruch says the rule opens the doors to all pre-rule human studies. "The proposal allows EPA to utilize for regulatory purposes any human dosing study conducted before the effective date of the new rule on a case-by-case basis, considering the ethical standards prevalent at the time. Since, prior to the rule, EPA recognized no ethical standards at all, this means that all prior human studies can come in through EPA's wide open door."

"This is yet another example of the Bush administration choosing to ignore the letter of the law and going its own way," Solis said. "Congress passed legislation to curb the practice of unethical pesticide testing on humans, but with this rule the Bush administration is authorizing systematic testing of pesticides on humans which not only fails to meet its congressional mandate but which will increase the number of unethical studies."







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(continued) "Rustle the Leaf" article October 19, 2006 8:40 AM

Human Guinea Pigs: Now Just $970
--by Dave Ponce

You may recall that, in a comic and essay posted in March of this year, we pointed out the existence of some fairly insane policies and practices where toxic substances and the public are concerned. Part of that essay dealt with testing pesticides on humans, a practice that Congress intended to ban with a June 2005 law and subsequent order for new EPA regulations.

Although the EPA did, indeed, define new regulations, the agency curiously ignored Congress' intention to ban pesticide tests on humans, allowing for some circumstances in which pregnant women and young children could still be tested. I know...EPA stands for 'Environmental Protection Agency,' but--hey--we're talking about testing on humans, so maybe there's a loophole.

Of course, that's not how the Natural Resources Defense Council saw it. This past February, the NRDC sued the EPA over the agency's apparent defiance of the law, and this week several of the lawmakers responsible for the original Congressional action in 2005 have joined the NRDC suit.

As I was reading the Associated Press article about the ongoing legal battle, I came across the details of what had originally caused the entire episode. It was news of an upcoming, government-approved and pesticide-industry-backed study, which was to be conducted on the families of 60 children in Duvall County, Florida. Upon learning of the test, and also learning that such tests were legal, even routine, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California began to pursue legislation banning human testing of pesticides.

There's a sort of 'Twilight Zone' flavor to this whole story--I mean, who can justify testing pesticides on pregnant women and children, for Heaven's sake? But what really grabbed me were the details of what families were to receive as compensation for allowing their children to be exposed to pesticides: some children's clothing, a camcorder, and $970 in cash. Dear God.

What year is it, again? What country is it, again? Who is it, again, claiming the moral high ground as being sensitive to 'traditional Judeo-Christian,' American family values? Give me a freakin' break.

Without assuming too much, I can't help wondering about the less-than-ideal financial situations of people who would sign up for such a study. I wonder whether they are from impoverished areas, living hopeless lives. Here's ONE thing you can bank on: they aren't the children of pesticide company executives or shareholders...

...Or of soulless, government-paid, EPA bureaucrats, for that matter.

To find out more, click here.
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Update - Still Problems w/Loopholes October 19, 2006 9:04 AM

http://www.organicconsumers.org/epa6.cfm

Thursday, October 19, 2006

ALERT UPDATE: The EPA has published a final human chemical testing rule here. Unfortunately, the agency did little to respond to the tens of thousands of citizens opposed to the loopholes in the original proposed rule. The EPA responds to the comments by moving the problematic sections of the proposed document (see below) to other parts of the document. One aspect of the final rule that is positive is that the EPA further articulates that the rule bans all intentional dosing.

Still, the rule has many loopholes (see below) regarding "observational dosing." Observational dosing can have its benefits when conducted via legitmate methods. But, historically, that has not been the practice of chemical companies seeking to weaken regulations on their products by testing on humans.

As an example, the CHEERS study, which was finally dropped by the EPA in early 2005, would have been an "observational study" on low income minorities in Florida. Unfortunately, the study's constructs were such that it could motivate study participants to expose themselves and their children to higher levels of pesticides and chemicals because of the study payout. The same holds true for the current rule, wherein orphanages and institutions housing mentally handicapped children could receive payout to increase everyday chemical use, prior to applying for a payout study. Of course, the EPA does not condone such behavior, but the new rule also does not disallow it, nor does it set up any sort of detailed criteria that would allow the agency or a review board to assess studies on this level.

At this point, the rule is published and official. We, at the OCA, are dissappointed in the EPA for not focusing more on creating stringent standards for observational studies.

It should be noted that this rule doesn't weaken current chemical testing regulations. The problem here is that it does not strengthen regulations, as mandated by Congress in 2005.

The OCA will continue to assemble a body of supporting documentation, as well as Congress and citizen supporters to create more stringent human chemical testing regulations in the coming weeks and months.

 

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