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.
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.