EU bans cosmetics with animal-tested ingredients (Update)

Mar 11, 2013 by Juergen Baetz
Activists of the AnimaNaturalis organization hold placards reading "Stop Animal testing" to mark the World Day for Laboratory Animals in Palma de Mallorca, on April 29, 2011. After years of trying, the EU finally put into effect Monday a complete ban on the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing.

The European Union banned the sale of new cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals with immediate effect Monday.

"This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety," said Tonio Borg, the EU's top official on health and consumer issues.

Animal rights groups were quick to cheer the measure, but Cosmetics Europe, a trade body representing the EU's €71 billion ($93 billion) industry, said the ban "acts as a brake on innovation."

While the industry's rabbits, mice or guinea pigs used in testing will now be spared, consumers are unlikely to notice immediate changes because products containing ingredients that were tested on animals before the ban can remain on the shelves.

The 27-country bloc's executive arm, the European Commission, claimed the decision "is in line with what many European citizens believe firmly: that the development of cosmetics does not warrant animal testing."

The EU has banned animal testing of finished cosmetic products since 2004. The ban on cosmetics containing animal-tested ingredients was first decided four years ago but initially left loopholes for certain tests following resistance from cosmetics companies.

At the moment, neither the U.S. nor Asian markets have similar bans in place. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits the sale of unsafe cosmetics, it doesn't require that animal tests be conducted to show that the cosmetics are safe.

Animal rights groups such as Humane Society International cheered the EU's decision on the full ban as a major step in stopping animals' suffering, saying the bloc has now become "the world's largest cruelty-free cosmetics market."

The group also said it hopes the course taken by the EU - whose nations combined form the world's biggest economy - will soon be replicated by the global cosmetics industry.

The phase-out of animal testing over the years in Europe has resulted in a dramatic drop in such activity among U.S. cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers looking to sell overseas. U.S. beauty makers generated about $38.3 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the latest statistics from the Washington-based industry trade group Personal Care Products Council.

"This had an impact on the U.S. cosmetic industry," said Kathy Guillermo, senior vice-president of laboratory investigation for the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA. "It also ushered in a whole new era of non-animal science" in Europe.

The cosmetic industry's European trade body, however, said the new EU ban threatens the industry's competitiveness and comes too early because there is still no alternative for some specific animal tests to ensure the safety of all ingredients.

Cosmetics Europe chief Bertil Heerink said "by implementing the ban at this time, the European Union is jeopardizing the industry's ability to innovate," putting the 27-country bloc at odds with its own goal of fostering a knowledge and science-driven economy.

The sector's European cosmetic companies had 2010 revenues of €71 billion, directly employing some 180,000 people, according to the EU Commission.

The Commission stressed it will engage with its trading partners - for example, the United States and China - "to explain and promote the European model and to work towards the international acceptance" of the ban.

"The Commission will make this an integral part of the Union's trade agenda and international cooperation," it said.

The EU and the U.S. are currently launching negotiations aimed at reaching a free-trade agreement.

New cosmetic products manufactured outside the EU containing ingredients that were tested on animals could still be sold in Europe, but only if producers are able to document their safety to EU regulators without using data gathered through animal tests, said EU health official Sabine Lecrenier.

Cosmetic products that contain pharmaceutical ingredients that have been tested on animals because of the EU's rules governing pharmaceutical products can also still be marketed in Europe.

Explore further: Noted researchers warn that biomedical research system in US is unsustainable

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cell-based alternative to animal testing

Aug 08, 2011

European legislation restricts animal testing within the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries and companies are increasingly looking at alternative systems to ensure that their products are safe to use. Research published ...

WTO meets to review EU seal products ban

Feb 18, 2013

The World Trade Organisation on Monday held its first hearing on the EU's contested ban against the sale of seal products, a decision opposed by both Norway and Canada.

Newly approved ocular safety methods reduce animal testing

Jun 23, 2008

Federal regulatory agencies have accepted recommendations of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) for two methods that can reduce live animal use for ocular safety testing, ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jalmy
2.3 / 5 (12) Mar 11, 2013
Way to be stupid Eurotrash. So you would rather have humans suffer or possibly die from unknown toxic materials. The majority being females in their teens and twentys. Rather than test and find out on animals first? More side effects on humans will also mean more law suits by humans. All things that can be avoided by animal testing. If you think the animals are being mistreated, make laws about that. Seriously you Europeans are dumb.
Lurker2358
2.5 / 5 (11) Mar 11, 2013
Pretty stupid.

Now they will be lawsuits against companies and hold them liable for damages they were not allowed by law to test to be sure it was safe.

Maybe they're trying to damage women, or maybe they're trying to bankrupt the world economy in favor of years worth of unlimited lawsuits...

Why should I be surprised? Europe is also where they charge and convict seismologists of manslaughter because of theory error.
PJS
2.8 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2013
i think we should just test on jalmy and lurker2358 instead and see how they like it
jalmy
1.2 / 5 (10) Mar 11, 2013
Well PJS you probably eat meat right? Or eat animal products? I think we should grind you up and see how you taste. Pretty ignorant comment on your part Sir/Miss. There is a difference between using animals for testing and animal cruelty. I have no doubts that there are ways to use animals for testing without inconveniencing their quality of life too much. You know, less than say being eaten does.
kris2lee
1 / 5 (7) Mar 11, 2013
Maybe they're trying to damage women


Considering how EU tries to commit continent wide Hg poisoning, I would not be surprised.
alfie_null
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2013
Have they forbidden testing on humans also?
There's a world full of people destitute enough to do absolutely anything for a little money.
nowhere
3 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2013
If you think the animals are being mistreated, make laws about that.
So they should test the products for animal safety before testing the products on said animal for human safety? But then wouldn't the first test preclude the necessity for animal testing?
There is a difference between using animals for testing and animal cruelty
even when the products you are using would cause
humans suffer or possibly die from unknown toxic materials.
?
nowhere
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2013
hold them liable for damages they were not allowed by law to test to be sure it was safe.
I was under the impression there are cosmetic products already sold that do not use animal testing. How have they managed to test for safety? Maybe it costs more, but then how much is your morality worth?
Maybe they're trying to damage women, or maybe they're trying to bankrupt the world economy in favor of years worth of unlimited lawsuits...
sounds like a very slippery argument to me.
nowhere
5 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2013
Have they forbidden testing on humans also?
There's a world full of people destitute enough to do absolutely anything for a little money.

Now here's a good idea. They already use humans to test self defense weapons, and conduct clinical trials. Plus it's also job creation.

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.