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Policy

European Union Bans Animal-Tested Cosmetics

by Britt E. Erickson
March 18, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 11

Cosmetics that contain any ingredients that were tested on animals can no longer be sold in the European Union. The ban, which took effect on March 11, marks the final step in the phaseout of animal testing for cosmetics marketed in the EU. The European Commission banned animal testing of finished cosmetics in 2004 and attempted to ban all animal studies of cosmetic ingredients in 2009. Some animal tests, however, were exempt from the 2009 ban until now because the cosmetics industry effectively argued that no suitable alternatives were available to ascertain the safety of ingredients. Although that is still the case, the ban did go into effect. Animal welfare groups are welcoming the full ban, stressing that it will put pressure on cosmetics manufacturers in the U.S. and elsewhere to end animal studies if they want to sell their products in the EU. But Cosmetics Europe, a trade association for cosmetics manufacturers in the EU, is disappointed with the decision, claiming “nonanimal alternatives cannot address all ingredient safety questions.”

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