EU and cosmetics industry to co-fund animal testing alternatives

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics

The European Union has agreed to match funds in the research and development of alternatives to conventional animal testing methods.

A joint presentation was made at the recent VII World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Rome last week, when it was finalized that the two parties would participate in the joint funding effort.

The EU went to the negotiating table proposing to fund alternative testing to the tune of €25m, an amount that was matched by the body representing the European cosmetics industry, Colipa.

This means that a total of €50m has been allocated to develop testing methods that will promise a higher predicative value, as well as providing both faster and cheaper alternatives to testing that involves animals.

Focusing on key dose systematic toxicity

The research projects will focus on key principles, including repeated key dose systematic toxicity, the development of organ stimulating devices, computational modeling techniques and the use of human-based target cells.

“Our industry welcomes the opportunity to contribute funding to this initiative, which has a key role to play in the process towards full replacement of animal safety tests n the scientifically complex area of systematic toxicity,”​ said Bertil Heernik, director-general of Colipa.

The move is the final step in a drawn out negotiation process that has been years in the making, ultimately with the aim of completely outlawing the testing of animals on ingredients used in personal care and cosmetic products.

Twenty years in the making

The EU agreed to ban the testing of animals on personal care products in 2002, after a total of 13 years of drawn out and highly politicized negotiations.

The ruling aimed to outlaw the practice eradicated by the end of this year, 2009, with the exception of certain animal tests to determine the effects on fertility or overall toxicity, which are due to be finally phased out by 2013.

The latest round of negotiations means that negotiations have been under way for a total of 20 years, mainly because decent alternatives did not exist.

Lack of alternatives has been the problem

This factor has posed a particular problem for the industry in France, home of the largest share of the cosmetics industry in Europe, including the world’s largest player, L’Oreal.

Likewise the total ban has been traditionally opposed by the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents over 70 companies, in Switzerland, German, Italy and France.

Originally the ruling against animal testing aimed to outlaw the practice by the end of this year, 2009, with the exception of certain animal tests to determine the effects on fertility or overall toxicity, which are due to be finally phased out by 2013.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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