Few subjects in the household and personal products industry stir up more controversy than product safety testing on animals. For decades, the industry has faced opposition from animal rights groups who abhor the use of mice, rats and rabbits and other animals in a battery of tests to ensure product safety. Now, all that is changing, in the European Union anyway.
According to the EU Directive, “as from 11 March 2013, no cosmetic product containing an ingredient that has been tested for the purposes of the Directive using animals after this date will be allowed for sale in Europe, irrespective of whether or not an alternative test is available.”
The move follows a ban from March 2009 that stated, “as of 11 March 2009, no animal testing has beenpermitted in the EU, whether or not an alternative method is available.”
Tests such as acute toxicity, skin sensitization, carcinogenicity and reproductive and developmental toxicity tests which have been performed on animals have been replaced by existing data, 3D human skin models, in vitro genotoxicity tests on target cell models and other non-animal-based methods. But the move by the EU has created a patchwork of global regulations when it comes to animal testing.
Here in the US, companies have been moving away from costly animal tests for more than a decade.
But in China, recent regulations call for animal testing to ensure cosmetic product safety. It all means that the headaches will continue for regulatory departments at cosmetic companies around the world. The EU move also brings the topic of animal testing back in the headlines, which is sure to put more pressure on the US to ban safety testing on animals at least in cosmetics and, down the road, household products too.
Another hot topic in the States these days is UV protection. With Spring just a couple of weeks away, magazine and newspaper articles will urge folks to slap on another layer of sun protection before heading out the door. But before you turn to popular media for the story, be sure to read this issue of Happi.
In The Sunscreen Filter, industry expert Nadim Shaath reviews the danger posed by free radical formation and the growing importance of incorporating antioxidants into sun care formulas. This issue also includes our annual look at market trends in sun care. Associate Editor Melissa Meisel notes that the Final Rule on Sunscreens went into effect late last year, but the move hasn’t seemed to handcuff marketers, as new product launches are expected to dominate Summer 2013.
The ability of sun care marketers to overcome adversity makes one wonder: With all the advances in ingredients and testing, would an animal ban really impact innovation in the US personal care market?