ANTIBACTERIAL—a chemical that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.

and anti-acne creams that cannot be proven safe without the use of animal testing because they contain ingredients that cause a chemical change in the body that could potentially be harmful. Without these safety tests, it would be impossible to ensure that these products are safe for your use.


Alternative testing methods are developed to replace, reduce, and refine animal use and to improve the accuracy of tests for predicting human health or environmental hazards. An example of an alternative testing method is an assay that uses in vitro cell cultures to determine whether chemicals will burn or damage the skin. These alternative tests are developed by scientists in companies, universities, and government laboratories. They are then evaluated by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), to ensure that the alternative test can accurately determine whether a product is dangerous. ICCVAM recommendations on alternative testing methods for toxicology are used by federal agencies to update testing regulations and guidelines. The European Union has a similar organization, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, which develops and evaluates new alternatives to animal testing.


A few years after the Lash Lure incident, another tragedy involving untested products occurred. A drug company in Tennessee decided to develop a liquid form of a sulfa drug (antibacterial) that would appeal to children. This drug company took a well-tested sulfa drug, mixed it with a sweet-tasting liquid that children would like, and sold it as “Elixir Sulfanilamide.” Unfortunately, the drug company did not test the safety of Elixir Sulfanilamide before putting it on store shelves. The pleasant-tasting liquid in Elixir Sulfanilamide contained ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting poison that is the main

TOXICOLOGY—The study of the poisons and their effects on living organisms.

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