Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Robots to Replace Animals in Chemical Testing

I keep hearing about all these innovations to replace animal testing...laboratory-engineered human skin, robots, human eyeball replicas, yadda yadda.

Here's another example of something "in development." When is this stuff going to start actually being USED?

Call me impatient.

Researchers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Health will be working together to help create robots that can test the safety and toxicity of chemicals.

According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), more than 100 million animals are used annually in experiments in the U.S., of which 15 million are used in toxicity tests.

The robots would work by testing a cell culture of a chemical using a special computer model. They’ll resemble medical research machines which test thousands of molecules for medical usefulness in just a few days.

If it works, it could mean much faster testing of chemical safety. This is good news for companies as well as health agencies. Products from pesticides to cleaners must be safety tested before being released, so the robots would get products on the shelves or back to the lab faster.

Photo by Nyx.

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