Tests on Animals Say Little About the Effects of Chemicals on Human Hormones

Posted by on July 20, 2021 | Permalink

Chemical regulators make promises they cannot keep when they rely on tests using animals. The most recent strategy in the regulation of chemicals in the EU will take the lives of even more animals without resulting in additional benefits for humans.

The strategy proposes a system with more animal tests to see if chemicals have endocrine-disrupting properties. This means animals would suffer in cruel tests which don’t provide improved protection of human health or the environment. Here’s what’s going on and how you can help.

What Are Chemicals With Endocrine Disrupting Properties?

Our bodies maintain a sensitive balance of various hormones to keep our essential functions – such as development, metabolism, and reproduction – performing normally. Chemicals with endocrine-disrupting properties are ones that interfere with the body’s hormones, such as estrogens.

It is important to ensure that chemicals don’t interfere with our hormonal balance. To do that, regulators require testing, but instead of relying on human-relevant tests, they are currently insisting on animal tests that cannot reliably predict reactions in humans.

What’s the Problem?

In addition to causing immense suffering to millions of animals, animal experiments don’t provide the information needed to keep humans safe.

Unsurprisingly, the hormonal systems in rats or mice function differently than those of humans. For example, when scientists compared the effects of six potential endocrine disrupters on the function of rat, mouse, and human testes, they found similar responses between humans and rodents in only one third of their analyses! For another third of the chemicals, the effects were similar but were seen at different doses. More unsettlingly, for the last third, the effects seen in rodents did not occur in humans at all.

Keep in mind that animals used in tests are also often frightened, stressed, and in pain. All these things affect their hormone levels, further undermining the relevance of test results. Relying on such flawed methodology puts humans at potential risk, so the authorities charged with ensuring our safety must leave experiments on animals behind.

What’s the Solution?

The solution is simple. The European Commission must prioritise the development of robust, human-relevant, non-animal methods. Data from animal-based tests may lead to misleading conclusions and cause regulators to make promises to the public about the safety of chemicals that they cannot keep, despite their best intentions. Find out more about the alternatives to tests on animals in PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal.

Animals in Laboratories Need Your Help

Experiments on animals are unreliable and cruel. Urge the UK government to end all such tests and prioritise modern, non-animal methods. Support PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal – sign our petition today: