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Animal Testing Ban Initiated in Europe

Posted: March 11, 2009

On March 11, 2009, two bans enter into force concerning animal testing related to cosmetics products in the European Union. According to Colipa, both bans were decided in 2003 in the context of the Cosmetics Directive (76/768/ECC), which, among other purposes, aims to ensure the safety of ingredients used in cosmetic products.

The first ban concerns testing on animals to assess the safety of ingredients. The cosmetics industry has been working to replace these tests for years, according to Colipa. A second ban prohibits the sale of cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals. This ban is progressive until it becomes a complete ban in March 2013, taking into account scientific progress being made regarding certain complex safety tests for which alternative methods do not yet exist.

The European Commission reports it will assess the state of scientific progress in 2011, at the latest. “Our industry’s commitment to replacing animal testing stretches back long before bans were put in place," said Bertil Heerink, director general, Colipa. "We play a leading role in the development of alternative methods, and will continue to work together with other key partners in order to move toward the goal of replacing animal testing completely.”

According to Colipa, the cosmetics industry remains firmly committed to finding alternative methods of safety testing and to replacing animal testing completely. Therefore, it has launched a major joint research program together with the European Commission in order to develop alternative test methods in a wider area of safety evaluation of ingredients (the so-called systemic toxicity program). It has dedicated €25 million, which is matched by the European Commission.