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U.S. regulatory agencies are charged to protect human and animal health and the environment. To do this, agencies must determine the hazards presented by substances such as pesticides, consumer products, and workplace chemicals. Testing these substances provides information about possible hazards and enables informed decisions about responsible use, storage, and disposal.
Many currently accepted test methods use laboratory animals. Alternative test methods are methods that replace animal use with non-animal test systems or lower species, reduce the number of animals required for a specific test procedure, or refine animal use to enhance animal well-being and lessen or avoid pain and distress. Collectively, the principles of replacement, reduction, or refinement of animal use for scientific research or product safety testing are referred to as the 3Rs.
The ICCVAM Authorization Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 285l-3) directs the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) to “establish, wherever feasible, guidelines, recommendations, and regulations that promote the regulatory acceptance of new or revised scientifically valid safety testing methods that protect human and animal health and the environment while reducing, refining, and replacing animal tests and ensuring human safety and product effectiveness.”
The ICCVAM Authorization Act states that the purposes of ICCVAM are to:
ICCVAM is a permanent interagency committee of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) under the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Methods (NICEATM).