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EU Ban on Animal Testing Comes Into Force Today

March 11, 2009

Today is the long awaited deadline for the ban of animal testing in the EU. The new legislation outlaws the sale of any cosmetic products and it’s ingredients tested on animals whether they are produced within or outside of the EU.

In September 2004, testing finished products on animals was banned, but companies were still allowed to use individual ingredients tested on animals. These companies are now not only prohibited to use any animal tested ingredients but also to market any products that contain these ingredients. By 2013 there should be a complete ban on animal testing across all areas.

This is an excerpt from an article by Cosmetics Design Europe:

Campaigners are today celebrating the enforcement of the EU ban on the use of animals to test cosmetic ingredients but reservations remain about the availability of alternatives.

The seventh amendment of the Cosmetics Directive means that today (March 11) testing cosmetic ingredients on animals becomes illegal for skin irritancy, phototoxicity, corrosivity, percutaneous absorption, genotoxicity, ocular irritancy and acute toxicity.

Animal rights campaigners in the UK joined MPs and beauty firms such as Neal’s Yard, The Body Shop and Essentially Yours to celebrate the news outside the Houses of Parliament.

Validated alternatives exist for only four of the seven categories where animal testing is no longer permitted. This leaves companies with few options when it comes to genotoxicity, ocular irritancy and acute toxicity tests. According to a spokesperson for SkinEthic (a provider of reconstructed human epidermis models that have been validated for skin irritancy and corrosivity), this is due, in part at least, to the industry dragging its feet.

The ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients will be completed in 2013 when another eight tests join the list (carcinogenicity, photoallergy, cutaneous allergy, toxicokinetics, reprotoxicity, teratogenesis, toxicity – sub chronic and chronic, and photomutagenesis).

With animal testing now almost completely eradicated from cosmetics in the EU, animal rights group BUAV says it will now turn its attention to the global beauty industry.

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Image source: P-J-TRASH on Flickr.


  • Colin on March 11, 2009

    A very stylish looking blog. I look forward to reading it.

  • Sheri Lee Pierce on March 11, 2009

    Thanks for posting this summary Gemma. Hope the U.S. will follow the EU’s lead sooner rather than later!

  • Gemma on March 11, 2009

    @colin: thanks! I’ve had a look around your blog tonight, you have some good articles.

    @sheri lee pierce: I hope so too. The article said the BUAV are now going to turn it’s attentions globally. Hopefully this will have some financial and moral impact on companies that still test their products on animals.

  • carrina on March 11, 2009

    Well done for highlighting this!

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