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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article addresses practical problems about our use of animals to assess the toxicological risks posed by various drugs, cleaning agents, pesticides, cosmetics, and the like. It presents scientific doubts about the usefulness of much of the animal test data for human risk assessment. It argues that there is now a consensus that animal tests are not particularly effective in predicting harm to either humans or the environment. This consensus is rapidly causing interest in toxicology to shift away from animal tests and toward quicker and cheaper alternative test systems. It is also critical of the current system of institutional review committees (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees in the United States), which in principle are comprised of people who are chosen as reasonable representatives of the various parties who have a stake in the decisions of these committees.

Keywords: toxicological risks, animal test, human risk assessment, United States

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