Call on EU to Uphold Cosmetic Animal Testing Ban

Uphold EU Cosmetic Animal Testing Ban - AFSA

Industry and Humane Leaders Call on EU Institutions to Uphold Cosmetic Animal Testing Ban and Commit to Practical Solutions for Worker Protection

Brussels, 10 November 2020

The EU’s historic cosmetic animal testing and trade bans created a model for responsible innovation – the opportunity for companies to produce new, safe products without new animal testing. This model is a win-win-win for business, consumers and animals, and has enjoyed widespread public support, paving the way for similar animal testing bans in 40 countries across the globe.

Yet, this celebrated EU success story is now being undermined by the European Chemicals Agency and its Board of Appeal, with no reaction yet from the European Commission, through demands for new animal testing of substances used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients. This continues the trend of systematically requesting unnecessary animal data despite a legal obligation to promote non-animal methods. The tests currently being ordered for just two cosmetic ingredients would subject thousands of animals and their offspring to suffering and death.

The testing is said to fulfill the requirements of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation to ensure occupational safety for workers in chemical manufacturing plants. In reality, these data demands are to ensure ECHA has an administratively complete set of data for hazard classification and labelling, regardless of whether additional data are in fact needed to ensure worker protection. Further, lessons learned in animal-free safety assessment of cosmetics over many years can be readily applied to occupational safety assessment of ingredients without compromising human safety. 

The Animal-Free Safety Assessment (AFSA) Collaboration was established by Humane Society International and brings together leaders in the corporate and non-profit communities to advance the shared goal of advancing a modern, human-relevant approach to safety assessment globally to better protect people and our planet, and hasten the replacement of animal testing across industry sectors. AFSA’s work on cosmetics is driving legislative change across 17 key beauty markets worldwide and is helping to establish critical capacity among local regulatory and regulated stakeholders to implement non-animal next-generation approaches to cosmetic safety assessment. 

AFSA Collaboration partners from the cosmetics sector join HSI in calling on EU Institutions to ensure the essence of the Cosmetics Regulation ban on animal testing remains strong, and for EU science and regulatory leaders to work with us to formalise a process for animal-free occupational safety assessment. REACH and ECHA are holding back innovation and societal progress by not enabling the best available science to underpin regulatory safety decisions. It is essential that EU regulations and their application be sufficiently flexible to allow for the most up-to-date science and tools, and new types of non-animal data, to be fully utilised to protect human health and the environment.

The future of chemical safety assessment is animal-free, and it is past time EU institutions embraced the transformational change required to move away from a hazard-based paradigm rooted in tick-box animal testing in favour of modern, human-relevant, non-animal scientific approaches based on risk and exposure.