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EU Bans Animal-tested Cosmetic Ingredients

Posted: March 15, 2013
EU bans animal testing for cosmetic ingredients.

The full phase out of animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe is now in effect: cosmetics tested on animals, even for the most complex human health effects, can’t be marketed in the EU.

"Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare,” Tonio Borg, the European Commissioner in charge of health and consumer policy, said on Monday in an official statement. “The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third-world countries to follow our European approach. This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety."

No animal testing for cosmetic purposes can be carried out in Europe, according to the European Commission’s regulations, and it's prohibited to market cosmetic products containing ingredients which have been tested on animals. However, the majority of ingredients used in cosmetics are ingredients that are also in used in many other consumer and industrial products such as in pharmaceuticals, detergents, food and paints. These, the Commission said, may be subject to animal testing requirements under these respective legal frameworks.

Cosmetics already in the marketplace, and for which their safety is already established and their historic animal data can continue to be relied on, aren't affected by the ban and can continue to be placed on the market.

In the EU, animal testing for finished cosmetic products has been banned since 2004 and animal testing for cosmetic ingredients has been banned since March 2009, also prohibiting the marketing of cosmetic products containing ingredients that have been tested on animals. But for the most complex tests the marketing ban the deadline was extended to March 11, 2013. This means that for these tests (repeated-dose toxicity, including skin sensitization and carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics) companies could still carry out the tests outside the Union for cosmetic purposes and rely on the results for the safety assessment in the Union. This is not possible anymore as of March 11, 2013.

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