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Animal Testing and Cosmetic Products

You may have read reports in the media about animal testing and cosmetic products and claims made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). CTPA cannot comment on individual company business decisions and marketing strategies worldwide. However, we are disappointed by the stories and the impressions given about the European cosmetics industry. No other industry has made such efforts nor achieved such success in developing ways to assure safety without using animals.

Cosmetic products sold in Europe are not tested on animals. This is true whether or not the product makes a claim relating to animal testing (including pictorial claims). The strict EU laws require all cosmetic products to be rigorously assessed for safety by a qualified safety professional who provides a personal signed report on each product. The safety assessment of a cosmetic product is based on the safety profile of its ingredients. The majority of products are made from ingredients that have a well-established safety record. Since the safety of the finished product can be assessed based on the safety of its ingredients, there is no need to test finished product on animals.

No cosmetic product may be tested on animals anywhere in the European Union (EU). The ban on animal testing of cosmetic products in the EU came into effect in September 2004. It has been illegal to test cosmetic product on animals in Europe since that time. In the UK, testing of cosmetic products was banned in 1997 after a voluntary initiative by industry which led to all licences for testing cosmetic products and/or their ingredients to be withdrawn.

Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients in order to comply with the requirements established under the EU Cosmetic Regulation is banned in Europe. No ingredients used in cosmetics may be tested for that reason anywhere in the EU. It has been illegal to test cosmetic ingredients for that purpose on animals in Europe since March 2009 and to market cosmetic products in the EU containing ingredients tested on animals since March 2013.

However, many cosmetic ingredients are also used by other industries whose legislation still requires animal testing. Therefore, most, if not all, cosmetics contain one or more ingredients tested on animals by someone at some time, for some purpose. This does not mean that those cosmetic products are illegal in the EU or that companies using those ingredients condone animal testing.

REACH is not a 'loophole' the cosmetics industry exploits to test ingredients: it is a legal obligation for all chemicals on the EU market to comply with REACH and this is outside the control of cosmetics manufacturers.

The cosmetics industry has invested huge sums of money, and continues to do so, in partnership with the European Commission, in order to develop alternatives to animal tests to continue to ensure the safety of ingredients; these non-animal tests are also helping reduce the number of animals used by other industries. The cosmetics industry is working closely with the Commission to engage with other global authorities that still carry out animal testing in their territories to explain why such testing is not needed to show safety and to promote the development and acceptance of alternative, non-animal, methods.

Regarding China, the close involvement of the European cosmetics industry in discussions with the Chinese authorities over how to ensure safety using non-animal methods has been both essential and successful in helping the Chinese authorities move away from mandatory animal testing.

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