European Ombudsman says ECHA and EC statement on animal testing can stand

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

European Ombudsman says ECHA and EC statement on animal testing can stand
Following a complaint by PETA at the wording of a joint statement from two European bodies on the topic of animal testing, the European Ombudsman has found there was no issue with the statement.

In a rejection of the complaint from the animal rights group, the Ombudsman found that the statement did not set out to deal with the interpretation and application of the Cosmetics Regulation in light of the REACH regulation, as PETA asserted.

The complaint, put forward by animal rights group PETA, claimed that the ECHA and the European Commission were encouraging an interpretation of the law that allows continued animal testing under certain circumstances for cosmetics chemicals.

However, the Obsudsman finds that the statement pertained to REACH regulation alone, and made no reference to the implementation of Cosmetics Regulation (under which the animal testing ban for cosmetics sits).

The Ombudsman concludes, therefore, that the joint statement is not contrary to the Cosmetics Regulation or to EU law more generally​,” she said.

ECHA responds

In response to the ruling, PETA asserted that there is an ‘unacceptable lack of clarity’ around how the Cosmetics Regulation and its animal testing and marketing bans should be interpreted and applied across the EU.

This is a claim that the ECHA rejects, with the regulatory body offering the following statement to Cosmetics Design:

From ECHA’s perspective, since 2014 when the European Commission clarified how we should interpret the interface between REACH and the cosmetics regulation, the process has run relatively smoothly.

“We are certainly not aware of the scale of confusion referred to by PETA.”

The ECHA went on to outline that because chemicals used in cosmetics are usually included as ingredients in other industries, it is necessary for REACH regulation to gather information on their impact and effect onto people and environments.

“The REACH regulation requires us to gather data on the impact of all chemicals on people and the environment, and to use that information to increase the level of protection offered to them in Europe,​” it explains.

People in the workplace are fundamental to that – they can be exposed in the workplace to greater concentrations of chemicals and can therefore face more significant effects.

“Chemicals in cosmetics are usually ingredients in many other products that are nothing to do with cosmetics. To ignore their potential effect on workers would be contrary to REACH.”

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