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The EU bans cosmetic animal testing

Well, the ban on animal testing is happening in the EU. As of March 11, 2013, cosmetics will not be allowed to be tested on animals. The ban covers…
1. Finished goods
2. Raw materials
3. The marketing of animal-tested products
4. The import of animal-tested products

It is interesting to note the EU regulators have said that

Upon full implementation in 2013, Directive 2003/15 will prohibit an additional eight tests for the marketing ban. These tests include “carcinogenicity, photoallergy, cutaneous allergy, toxicokinetics, reprotoxicity, teratogenesis, toxicity[–]sub chronic and chronic[–]and photomutagenesis.” All of these eight tests still require the use of animals, as no validated alternatives are currently available. These are also some of the most important tests, as they are necessary to determine whether the products are safe for human use. Carcinogenity tests for cancer-causing properties, and reproductive toxicity tests for negative effects on human reproduction”

So, the regulators admit that the alternatives to animal testing are not reliable. Lots of anit-animal testing advocates miss this point or directly lie about it.

That is not to say I disagree with the ban. People should just be aware that the products they use will now be less safe.

The Humane Society and Lush Cosmetics have said that this should inspire all cosmetic markets around the world to get rid of animal testing. We’ll see if it happens.

Likely result

The truth is that there is not a lot of animal testing that is going on in the cosmetic industry. In the 15+ years of formulating that I did for a large cosmetic company, I could count on one hand the number of products we sent out to be animal tested. It just doesn’t happen much. It is expensive and if companies didn’t have to do it, they would rather not.

The primary place that animal testing is happening is with raw material suppliers who have to test new raw materials. The result of this ban essentially means that cosmetic products in the EU will no longer be able to incorporate new raw materials (at least until alternative testing methods are verified). Maybe this won’t matter. Maybe cosmetics are as good as they need to be.

But if that is the case, will we still need cosmetic chemists?

Probably. Just not as many.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Emilia 03/11/2013, 6:31 am

    Hi!
    I was wondering what will happen with cosmetics now that test will be banned. So my idea was that either nobody will come up with a new ingredient and that means that we stop progress and that means also that people with allergies will be not considered, if you are allergic to something then keep not using that product
    or
    they will put new ingredients without testing them but I think that it is pretty crazy since it can really be dangerous to use a product every day, even if it is not a drug, without knowing if it can give you cancer or not.

    • Perry Romanowski 03/11/2013, 7:28 am

      I think your first suggestion is probably what will happen. There will be no new ingredients introduced into cosmetics. Eventually, animal alternative tests will be developed (they have some but not everything) and progress might resume.

      • Emilia 03/11/2013, 8:23 am

        It took forever to have something to replace some tests and others just reduced the number of animals, I don’t understand why EU decided to anyway ban animal testing for cosmetics if we are not ready yet…

        • Perry Romanowski 03/11/2013, 9:35 am

          Politics. Certainly not science.

  • R.M.C. 03/01/2013, 3:21 pm

    Product will NOT be less safe. There is no way regulators would let this happen let alone EU parliament. There are thousands of already available cosmetics ingredients that have full toxicity profiles that industry can choose from to manufacture products. Additionally, just because a nonanimal method hasn’t been formally “validated” does not mean it is not effective. No animal test has ever been “validated.” Additionally, there are nonanimal methods for most of the tests listed even if they haven’t gone through a formal validation process.

    • Perry Romanowski 03/01/2013, 3:25 pm

      Why would you say regulators would not allow it to happen? Government people do illogical things all the time.
      If no animal test has ever been validated, how can you claim that thousands of cosmetic ingredients have full toxicity profiles? Part of the toxicity profiles are animal tests right?

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