EU readies for total ban of skin irritation testing on animals

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Animal testing European union

The European Commission has drafted a proposed adaptation of the EU’s Test Methods Regulation, which will ensure skin irritancy tests on animals become a thing of the past.

The move is the latest in the EU’s aims to bring about a total ban on the testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals, a goal which has so far taken 11 years to implement.

Currently the EU bans all testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals if alternative methods are ‘reasonably and practicably available’.

Alternative testing challenge

Developing alternatives to skin testing has proved a big challenge.

However, after much research and development, the EU is now readying to approve three non-animal test methods as replacements to skin irritancy tests that until now have invariably been carried out on laboratory rabbits.

The three non-animal testing methods that are set to be approved are said to be cheaper and quicker alternatives to the conventional testing on rabbits, and use artificially grown skin to determine whether or not a chemical is an irritant.

HSI applauds new alternatives

The Humane Society International today said that it applauded the move and said that its campaigns against the animal tests helped speed up the decision.

The forthcoming approval should also fall in line with the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive, which stresses that animal testing for skin irritancy should be outlawed by March 2009.

A further deadline for another eight tests (carcinogenicity, photoallergy, cutaneous allergy, toxicokinetics, reprotoxicity, teratogenesis, toxicity – sub chronic and chronic, and photomutagenesis) is set for 2013.

End of widely criticised test

“Today we celebrate the beginning of the end for one of the oldest and most widely criticised animal tests in history,”​ said Humane Society International president Kitty Block.

“By embracing new testing methods based on 21st century science, the EU is making a vital statement that the goals of animal, human health and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.”

The Humane Society says that it is now aiming to build on the success of this campaign in Europe by turning its attentions to other global regions where skin testing on animals is still carried out.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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