Animal testing related to cosmetics
Testing of finished cosmetic products on animals has been banned in the EU area since 2004. Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients was banned in the EU in 2009, with the exception of certain tests for which alternative methods had not yet been developed.
The transitional period for tests related to repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and toxicokinetics lasted until 2013. Since then testing of finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals has been prohibited. After the final transitional period, marketing of cosmetic products using claims that a product has not been animal tested has been prohibited and conducting animal tests on products intended to be imported to the EU market has been banned.
Alternative methods have been developed and are being developed to replace animal tests.
Chemicals legislation, cosmetics and animal testing
Individual ingredients of cosmetics are chemicals. Even though the EU Regulation on Cosmetic Products bans the testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals, it is possible that the same ingredient is also used for purposes other than cosmetics. In such case, the ingredient may be tested on animals in accordance with the REACH regulation.
However, chemicals legislation has strict limits for the use of animal testing. Meeting information requirements of chemicals legislation using animal testing or alternative methods requires strong evidence.
If an ingredient has been tested in the context of chemicals legislation using animal testing, the tested ingredient can be used for cosmetics. Many ingredients of cosmetics have been animal tested before animal testing was banned in chemicals legislation. Existing test results can be used to prove the safety of an ingredient.
History of the ban on animal testing
- 1993 First EU directive provisions on a marketing ban of cosmetics tested on animals, deadline for the ban set to 1998
- 1997 EU directive postponing the ban deadline until 2000 due to lack if alternatives to animal testing
- 2003 New directive introducing new provisions
ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products
ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients
ban on marketing of finished cosmetic products tested on animals
ban on marketing of cosmetic ingredients tested on animals
- 2004 Ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products enters into force
- 2007 Animal welfare acknowledged in a contract on the operations of the European Union
welfare requirements of animals must be fully taken into account
- 2009 Ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients enters into force
ban on marketing of finished cosmetic products tested on animals enters into force (testing still allowed for the most complex health effects, such as cancer and allergens)
- 2013 Full ban on animal testing enters into force
European Commission website on the ban on animal testing
Marketing claims related to non-animal testing of cosmetics
The EU Regulation on Cosmetic Products lays down strict criteria for marketing claims related to animal testing. Marketing claims related to cosmetic products can state that no animal testing has been performed if the following criteria are met:
- The manufacturer or his suppliers have not carried out or commissioned any animal tests on
- the finished cosmetic product,
- its prototype, or
- any of the ingredients contained in it.
The manufacturer or his suppliers have not used any ingredients that have been tested on animals by others for the purpose of developing new cosmetic products.