Industrial Chemicals

Industrial chemicals are a broad class of tens of thousands of chemicals that can be part of consumer products and industrial processes. These chemicals are used in oil and gas industries, paper production, manufacturing, construction, fertilisers and pesticides, detergents and soaps, and many other areas.

PETA Science Consortium International works to advance reliable testing approaches to assess the potential toxicity of these chemicals by funding method development and testing, partnering with other scientists on research projects, organising training opportunities, donating free in vitro equipment, and publishing and presenting on our work.

Global Initiatives

Regulatory agencies overseeing industrial chemicals include the European Chemicals Agency, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), and the Indian Department of Chemicals & Petro-Chemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers. We work globally with these agencies and others to ensure that scientifically sound, non-animal approaches accepted in one region are accepted in others.

To accelerate the use of robust, human-relevant, non-animal approaches, the Science Consortium is funding the testing of several chemicals (surfactants and silanes) in human respiratory cell models. The goal of this initiative, which began after a 2016 workshop co-organised by the Science Consortium, is to show the value of non-animal approaches to predict the toxicity of inhaled substances instead of testing on animals.

Education about non-animal tests, how or where to conduct them, and how to interpret data from them is essential to their use. The Science Consortium co-organises the EPIC webinar series (formally the PEP webinar series) on the use of non-animal testing approaches in risk assessment and organises in-person training opportunities to familiarise regulators with non-animal test methods.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (EU)

Details about our work to minimise animal testing for the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation can be found here.

Toxic Substances Control Act (US)

In the US, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires any company that plans to manufacture an industrial chemical to submit a pre-manufacture notice (PMN) to the EPA before commercialisation. Submitters are required to include any existing toxicity data but are not required to generate new data for a PMN. Science Consortium member PETA US and other stakeholders provided input on the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, an amendment to TSCA requiring the EPA to reduce and replace the use of animals in testing whenever possible.

In 2021, the Science Consortium, the EPA, and others partnered to present two posters on assessing the toxicity of chemicals that fall in the EPA surfactant category or the poorly soluble low toxicity (PSLT) polymer category, relying heavily on read-across and in chemico and in vitro testing.

In 2024, the EPA OPPT issued a decision framework demonstrating how information on the eye irritation potential of chemicals will be prioritised, which discourages the use of the in vivo rabbit Draize test in favour of approaches using human cells and other non-animal methods that assess the range of severity of eye irritants. This framework was described in a poster coauthored by the EPA, the Science Consortium, the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), and the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) that was presented at the Society of Toxicology 62nd Annual Meeting. The framework also references and aligns with the concepts described in a 2021 paper coauthored by the EPA, the Science Consortium, NICEATM, IIVS, and the European Commission Joint Research Centre, titled “Human-Relevant Approaches to Assess Eye Corrosion/Irritation Potential of Agrichemical Formulations”, showing that tests that do not use rabbits are more consistent and as or more reflective of human responses.

High Production Volume Challenge Program (US)

Science Consortium member PETA US campaigned successfully for guidance on reducing animal use to be implemented into the EPA’s High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program. Starting in 1998 and throughout the programme’s 12-year duration, PETA US scientists reviewed and commented on hundreds of test plans – every one in which testing on vertebrate animals was proposed – in order to help identify existing data and reduce animal use.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act (Canada)

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) covers the regulation of industrial chemical substances and is enforced by the Government of Canada through Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

In 2023, Bill S-5 was signed by the Government of Canada with the first updates to CEPA since its inception in 1999. The bill includes amendments to ensure the agencies work to replace and reduce the use of animals in toxicity testing of industrial chemicals and to develop scientifically robust non-animal test methods.

Draft Chemicals (Management and Safety) Rules, 20XX (India)

The Indian Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers is in the process of finalising its draft Chemicals (Management and Safety) Rules, 20XX, which, once enforced, will regulate chemicals imported and manufactured above 1 tonne in India. In 2020, Science Consortium member PETA India submitted comments and participated in the stakeholder consultation meeting to recommend the use of reliable and relevant non-animal testing approaches, which were subsequently accepted in the draft Rules. PETA India continues to work closely with the government to ensure that additional opportunities for replacing tests on animals are incorporated into the Rules.