You may have seen reports in the media about a new EU ruling on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients. The ruling comes from the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA. CTPA understands that these reports may be alarming, so we would like to confirm that this ruling does not change anything about the stringent ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients and products in the UK and EU, which is the strictest animal testing ban in the world.
The latest rulings actually confirm the current EU guidance, which does not weaken the animal testing ban.
Dr Emma Meredith, Director-General of the CTPA, says: “It is important to stress that there is no opportunity for cosmetics manufacturers to circumvent the EU ban on animal testing and the recent ECHA Board of Appeal decisions do not override the important Cosmetics Regulation bans on animal testing. These strict bans will remain in effect in the UK following Brexit.”
In 2013, the full ban on testing cosmetic products or ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world, and then selling them within the UK and EU, came into effect. However, the cosmetics industry has already been working to replace animal testing long before this time. In the UK, testing of cosmetic products was effectively banned in the late 90s after a voluntary initiative by industry which led to all licences for testing cosmetic products being withdrawn.
As well as the EU Cosmetics Regulation, which is the law ensuring that cosmetic products in the UK and Europe are safe, the ingredients in cosmetics are also subject to other chemical safety laws. One of these laws is called REACH, and one of its main aims is to ensure the safety of workers who might be exposed to chemicals, and the environment. Unfortunately, the REACH Regulation sometimes requires substances to be tested on animals.
A lot of work has been done in the past by the cosmetics industry and EU officials to ensure that REACH does not undermine the strict animal testing ban in place for cosmetics. Longstanding guidance issued by the EU confirms that if substances are only used in cosmetics, then even testing for REACH purposes is banned when this testing relates to the safety of the cosmetic product for the person who uses it. The recent EU Ruling confirms this guidance, because the testing in question relates to worker safety, which isn’t part of the Cosmetics Regulation. In this case, animal testing can occur for the purposes of REACH, because the Cosmetics Regulation has no legal scope over this.
Innovative Science for the future
The cosmetics industry has invested its best scientists and millions of pounds towards developing alternative test methods, which don’t require animals. Thanks to this enormous contribution, we are a leader in this field and have had a dedicated strategy for new testing methods for over 25 years. The cosmetics industry works together with animal charities, academics, authorities and regulators globally to promote these methods internationally to work towards an end to animal testing in all sectors.
Read more about the ban on animal testing here.