Published today in Independent Science News the article “The Experiment Is on Us: Science of Animal Testing Thrown into Doubt” by Pat Dutt and Jonathan Latham describes important new research that strongly suggests animal testing does not meaningfully protect us from unsafe food additives, pesticide contaminants, and other industrial chemicals.
Synopsis of their article:
National and international regulatory frameworks for protecting humans from chemical exposures are heavily dependent on animal testing. A premise of animal testing is that mice and other animals mimic human responses to carcinogens and other toxins. Yet even though most of toxicology and medical research rests on it, the idea of ‘concordance’ between species has not until now been systematically tested. A major body of new research described by Soek et al. (2013) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (“Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inﬂammatory diseases“) concludes that mice have negligible usefulness as experimental models for humans in the study of inflammation. Inflammatory diseases are an important class of human illnesses. But if, as seems probable, the results can be extrapolated to other diseases and disorders, then the entirety of current toxics testing is deeply flawed. So too is much of medical research. Since toxics testing procedures are likely worthless there is a strong case that the public should be taking steps to protect themselves by avoiding processed and non-organic foods, and non-traditional products and materials.
Note: Many other studies have cast doubt on the concordance of animal and human studies. A previous study may also be of interest: “Comparison of treatment effects between animal experiments and clinical trials: systematic review” by Perel et al. (2007) in BMJ 334(7586): 197. The Seok et al. (2013) study is special in that it compares, using several different analytic methods, the underlying molecular responses of both mice and humans to several different inflammatory stresses.