The hidden reality behind ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics

Cruelty-free cosmetics can still result in testing on animals

Despite its positive connotations, cruelty-free does not always mean what the word implies, as Dr Julia Baines, Science Policy Advisor for PETA explains...

Dr Julia Baines

There was widespread celebration across Europe in 2013 when the EU ban on tests on animals for cosmetics and on sales of cosmetics tested on animals came into full force. But a statement released by the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) last October has destroyed the party atmosphere with a policy that flies in the face of the ban.

What many don’t know is that, under the guise of the REACH chemicals regulation (the world’s largest animal testing programme), tests on animals are permitted for chemicals used exclusively in cosmetics where there is a possibility of workforce exposure during the manufacturing process. For cosmetic ingredients used in other types of products, tests on animals are permitted regardless of any workforce exposure risk, inferring that the REACH regulation overrides the ban on tests on animals.

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