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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of

Cynthia Graber reports on a new synthetic skin that does not require the use of live rabbits to test for corrosive chemicals.


GRABER: For years, animal rights activists have raised protests over the treatment of animals in product testing. For example, to test the corrosive properties of chemicals found in products like floor strippers, cleaners, and pesticides, scientists apply these chemicals directly to the skin of live rabbits. The results allow them to devise warning labels for humans, but many rabbits die in the process. Now, the federal government has approved an alternate test. The chemicals are placed on a new, synthetic skin. Once they penetrate the fake skin, simulating an actual burn, a liquid behind the barrier turns color. The time it takes the chemical to penetrate the barrier is compared to a chart. Scientists use it to determine the chemical's corrosive factor, make up their warning labels, and no rabbits are hurt in the process. And that's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.



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