Ideology Masquerading as Science: The Case of Endocrine Disrupter Screening Programmes
The global move to develop novel testing methods and strategies to identify suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals offers a unique opportunity to move away from traditional animal testing paradigms in this new area of regulatory concern. Regrettably, the programmes under development, both in the USA and internationally through the OECD, have thus far failed to consider in vitro and other nonanimal test methods as more than “pre-screening” or “priority-setting” tools in a larger, animal-based testing strategy. Validation efforts to date have focused almost exclusively on the modification of existing animal tests to detect “endocrine effects”, with no demonstrable effort to promote international coordination or support for the development and validation of relevant non-animal test systems. The current orientation in these programmes reflects ideological, rather than scientific, imperatives, and undermines the commitments of both the US government and the OECD with respect to the Three Rs and the minimisation of animal testing.