Continuing animal tests on cosmetic ingredients for REACH in the EU

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Jean Knight, Costanza Rovida , Reinhard Kreiling, Cathy Zhu, Mette Knudsen, Thomas Hartung
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EU cosmetic ingredients are governed by two regulations that conflict. Regulation EC 1223/2009, the Cosmetic Regulation, bans in vivo (animal) testing for cosmetic product safety assessments, including both final products and ingredients. At the same time, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation can impose in vivo testing of those same ingredients under its chemical testing requirements. Here, we examined REACH dossiers for chemicals for which the only reported use is cosmetics to determine the extent of new in vivo testing caused by REACH. We found the REACH database has 3,206 chemical dossiers with cosmetics as a reported use. Of these, 419 report cosmetics as the only use, and 63 of these have in vivo tests completed after the Cosmetic Regulation ban on in vivo testing. Registrants largely used alternative, non-animal methods to evaluate ingredients for REACH, but some still conducted new in vivo tests to comply with REACH requirements for toxicity data and worker safety assessments. In some cases, ECHA, the agency that evaluates REACH dossiers, rejected registrants’ alternative methods as insufficient and required new in vivo tests. As ECHA continues to evaluate dossiers, more requests for in vivo tests are likely. REACH tests on cosmetic ingredients appear only as “industrial chemicals legislation” tests in EU reports. Given the importance to consumers and the cosmetic industry of having cosmetics free of animal testing, the public should be made aware of REACH testing until the conflict between the regulations is resolved.

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How to Cite
Knight, J. (2021) “Continuing animal tests on cosmetic ingredients for REACH in the EU”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 38(4), pp. 653–668. doi: 10.14573/altex.2104221.

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