Saturday, June 14, 2014

Faking it The Case against Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories | By Keith Schneider :: Faking it The Case against Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories | By Keith Schneider:

This article is from the The Amicus Journal, spring 1983 edition, published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It is not an easy article to read and may indeed be one of the most disturbing things you've ever read. It chronicles the scandal that destroyed the credibility of the safety testing lab industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly Industrial Bio-Test Labs of Northbrook, Illinois. The article reveals the fraudulent practices of IBT and other laboratories, the horrendous treatment of animals, and the total disregard of human health and the integrity of the regulatory process. Many of the products the safety of which was declared falsely are still on the market. I first encountered this issue when covering PCBs in the mid-1990s and reported my findings in an article inSierra, the magazine of the Sierra Club. With assistance of NRDC, which retrieved this nearly-forgotten article from its archives for us, we are able to offer it to Planet Waves readers. Special thanks to Raluca Albu at NRDC in Manhattan for her research assistance, and Tania Derck in Brussels for typing the manuscript. A sequel to this article, called "IBT Guilty," and a product list of pesticides approved by IBT Labs, will follow shortly.
-- Eric Francis, NYC, winter 2007

WITHIN THE FERVID, unseemly world that was Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories, the place where things turned gruesome was a room called “The Swamp”. In 1970, IBT’s directors installed a Hoeltge automatic watering system for one large animal feeding room midway through Number Three building. Although it was designed to fill drinking bottles and flush wastes from hundreds of rodent cages, the equipment rarely worked properly. Faulty nozzles sprayed the room with a continuing chilly mist, showering the caged animals. Water streamed off cages and racks, submerging the floor under a four-inch deep pool. Mice regularly drowned in their feeding troughs. Rats died of exposure. No technician entered the Swamp without rubber boots, and many wore masks to protect themselves from the hideous stench of disease and death.

During the course of a two-year feeding study, involving more than 200 animals, the mortality rate in the Swamp reached 80 percent. Worst of all was cleaning the cages. Dead rats and mice, technicians later told federal investigators, decomposed so rapidly in the Swamp that their bodies oozed through wire cage bottoms and lay in purple puddles on the dropping trays. 

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