Inhumane State Aquatic Toxicity Testing to Remain Unchanged
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FROM SCIL Social Compassion in Legislation
October 13, 2019

Governor Newsom vetoes AB 733 that would spare live fish from lethal toxicity tests.

dead Minnows

Governor Newsom vetoed legislation that would have moved the state away from inhumane animal testing for classifying hazardous waste. Specifically, Assembly Bill 733 – authored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and co-sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine– would have directed the California Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) to evaluate and implement alternative “aquatic toxicity tests,” which currently use live fish.

“Put simply, the minnow test is obsolete,” says Assemblymember Quirk. “It is cruel and other jurisdictions around the world have found better ways of answering the same questions. Beyond its cruelty, the minnow test contributes to our waste problems in California when compassionate companies are forced to treat products as hazardous, since the only way to prove otherwise is inhumane.”

“AB 733 would have made alternative humane hazardous waste tests available. Cruelty-free companies would be able to stick to their values while protecting the environment by accurately disposing their waste and avoiding the steep costs associated with hazardous waste disposal.”

The current DTSC standard deposits live fish in tanks with potentially toxic materials. If the fish die, the materials are deemed “hazardous waste.” “More humane alternatives are used in other countries and are accepted by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, an international authority that sets harmonized chemical testing guidelines,” says Kristie Sullivan, MPH, toxicologist and vice president of research policy for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “By not updating its guidelines, California risks falling further behind the rest of the country and the world, which is modernizing chemical testing for the 21st-Century.”

“California absolutely needs rigid regulations to identify hazardous products and chemicals that can harm humans and the environment, but the current aquatic toxicity test is archaic and overtly cruel. They choke fish with toxic waste,” says Social Compassion in Legislation founder and CEO Judie Mancuso.

“There is an alternative: the Fish Embryo Test, used elsewhere in the U.S. and in Europe, which is a response to consumer outcries for ‘cruelty-free’ options, and Governor Newsom sadly closed the door for California to move away from the ‘canary in the coal mine’ model.”

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