The European Union (EU) has a new law forbidding the sale of any cosmetic product that contains an ingredient tested on animals. What does it mean for you?
Cosmetic products are defined in this context as “substances or mixtures of substances intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, etc.) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours.”
In practice, these regulations apply to any toothpaste, sunscreen lotion, skin cream, hair shampoo, and anything else which may be used on your body’s surface or parts thereof. It does not matter whether any such substance or product had been shown to have no detrimental effect in any standard animal test. Nor would it matter if any such product may have proven beneficial effects.
In the context of the new law, the term “animal” has not been defined. Perhaps a definition can be found elsewhere in the myriad of existing and new regulations. Nevertheless, the term animal here would certainly include rats and mice, rabbits and the proverbial guinea pigs.
Among the tests routinely undertaken for cosmetic products in the past were skin and eye irritation tests. They are performed on small patches of shaved skin of live rats or mice and the appearance or lack of rashes or inflammations are determined. Similarly, the rabbit eye irritation test (also termed Draize test) is checking for irritation of the mucous membranes of eyes.