select search filters
roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

expert reaction to news stories that the government has allowed animal testing for ingredients of cosmetics despite ban

There were some news stories reporting that the government has allowed animal testing for ingredients of cosmetics despite a ban.


Kirk Leech, Executive Director of the European Animal Research Association, said:

“EARA welcomes the decision by the High Court to allow safety testing on some ingredients used in cosmetic industry to ensure they were safe for workers involved in their manufacture. Equally the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was right to order a company to carry out animal tests on substances used only in cosmetics. The UK High Court decision and the ECHA judgement means that in the interests of worker safety, it doesn’t matter whether an ingredient is intended for use solely in a cosmetic, it still needs environmental and human safety assessments under REACH, and in the absence of alternatives, animal data is required. Some of the headlines are slightly misleading. Animal tests on ‘makeup’ (ie cosmetics) are still banned, but some ingredients that go into cosmetics are tested on animals under REACH.  The judge is also right that these issues need to be discussed openly so that the public has a good understanding of why animal testing is happening.  Often it’s been public and policy makers demands for safety testing of chemicals that has resulted in testing being required by law.”


Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive, Understanding Animal Research (UAR), said:

“The court’s ruling does not mean that existing cosmetic products (or household products) will start to be tested using animals. Nor does it mean that all new cosmetics will have to be tested.

“What it does mean is, if a cosmetics company wants to use a new ingredient that could harm people using it, or the workers making it, then it may require an animal test if no existing data or non-animal test is available.

“Concern over cosmetics ingredients have been raised after UV blocking agents in cosmetics like sunscreen caused infertility and stillbirth in rats. The non-animal tests could not confirm whether the chemicals were safe or not.

“This ruling confirms that the government has acted correctly in making sure that workers and the general public are not made ill by cosmetics manufacturers using chemicals in a way that could cause harm.”



News article:

Additional information from a vet who advises chemicals companies on animal welfare. Not for quoting:

In summary, the main reason chemical companies use animals for testing is regulatory compliance, especially with respect to effluent testing in the USA and Canada, and chemical safety testing for the European Union chemical safety regulation (REACH). Where possible, regulatory compliance tests are conducted with other companies that also seek to comply with the same regulations in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and minimise the overall use of animals.

Regulatory frameworks such as REACH rely heavily on animal tests following the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) test guidelines. At the end of 2020, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) required more testing for systemic, reproductive and developmental toxicity endpoints. This requires testing in a rodent species and often testing in a non-rodent species is also required (usually rabbit). Due to increased regulatory pressure, an increase in animal use is expected.  One of the issues for debate is that a strict interpretation of the requirements results in focusing solely on the animal test itself to fulfil a regulatory formality, rather than the outcome or protection goal of the assessment which could lead to alternative ways of assessing chemical safety and improve animal welfare.

in this section

filter RoundUps by year

search by tag