With the 2013 deadline for new European Union safety-testing regulations looming overhead, cosmetic companies and their ingredient suppliers are laboring to try out new methods of testing the safety of various beauty and personal care products. According to an article in Chemical & Engineering News, many are concerned that the total ban on animal testing would compromise the safety of their products.

Most animal testing is already prohibited, under the Seventh Amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive that took effect in March.

The article noted that although the directive deals with labeling and safety regulations for products sold in the EU, its influence goes beyond those 27 nations. Specifically, it has an impact on products that are imported into the EU. Moreover, other countries typically come to adopt EU standards.

To comply with the regulations, ingredient makers have explored in vitro testing methods, which substitute petri dishes with cell cultures for live animals. Furthermore, the article reports that scientists are developing sophisticated cellular and genomic assays that allow for multiple screenings on a single slide. Toxicologists are working on sophisticated computer simulation programs, looking to design predictive tests that eliminate the need for in vivo methods.

The ban on animal testing was the subject of much discussion during last month’s InCosmetics trade show, held in Munich, Germany.

Attendees pointed out that satisfying the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) program still requires some animal testing. Also, tests needed to replace animal testing have not all received government certification.

"It is in everyone’s best interest to eliminate animal testing. No one wants to harm rabbits," said Janet Winter Blaschke, managing director of REACH Chemical Consulting, an advisory firm, as reported by Chemical & Engineering News. "But at this time, some animal testing is still needed to ensure product safety."

[Source: Chemical & Engineering News]