Among all the groans about the new cosmetic regulations its important not to forget the important victory for those who have campaigned against animal testing contained in them. It is now enshrined in law that cosmetics may be placed on the market with alternative non animal testing methods.
"The safety of cosmetic products and their ingredients may be ensured through the use of alternative methods which are not necessarily applicable to all uses of chemical ingredients. Therefore, the use of such methods by the whole cosmetic industry should be promoted and their adoption at Community level ensured, where such methods offer an equivalent level of protection to consumers.
The safety of finished cosmetic products can already be ensured on the basis of knowledge of the safety of the ingredients that they contain. Provisions prohibiting animal testing of finished cosmetic products should therefore be laid down. The application, in particular by small and medium-sized enterprises, of both test methods and assessment procedures for relevant available data, including the use of read-across and weight-of-evidence approaches, which do not involve the use of animals for assessing the safety of finished cosmetic products could be facilitated by Commission guidelines.
It will gradually become possible to ensure the safety of ingredients used in cosmetic products by using non-animal alternative methods validated at Community level, or approved as being scientifically validated, by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and with due regard to the development of validation within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). After consulting the SCCS as regards the applicability of the validated alternative methods to the field of cosmetic products, the Commission should immediately publish the validated or approved methods recognised as being applicable to such ingredients. In order to achieve the highest possible degree of animal protection, a deadline should be set for the introduction of a definitive prohibition.
The Commission established timetables of deadlines up to 11 March 2009 for prohibiting the marketing of cosmetic products, the final formulation, ingredients or combinations of ingredients which have been tested on animals, and for prohibiting each test currently carried out using animals. In view, however, of tests concerning repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics, it is appropriate for the final deadline for prohibiting the marketing of cosmetic products for which those tests are used to be 11 March 2013. On the basis of annual reports, the Commission should be authorised to adapt the timetables within the abovementioned maximum time limit.
Better coordination of resources at Community level will contribute to increasing the scientific knowledge indispensable for the development of alternative methods. It is essential, for this purpose, that the Community continue and increase its efforts and take the measures necessary for the promotion of research and the development of new non-animal alternative methods, in particular within its Framework Programmes for research.
The recognition by third countries of alternative methods developed in the Community should be encouraged. In order to achieve this objective, the Commission and the Member States should take all appropriate steps to facilitate acceptance of such methods by the OECD. The Commission should also endeavour, within the framework of European Community cooperation agreements, to obtain recognition of the results of safety tests carried out in the Community using alternative methods so as to ensure that the export of cosmetic products for which such methods have been used is not hindered and to prevent or avoid third countries requiring the repetition of such tests using animals.
Transparency is needed regarding the ingredients used in cosmetic products. Such transparency should be achieved by indication of the ingredients used in a cosmetic product on its packaging. Where for practical reasons it is impossible to indicate the ingredients on the packaging, such information should be enclosed so that the consumer has access to this information.
A glossary of common ingredient names should be compiled by the Commission to ensure uniform labelling and to facilitate identification of cosmetics ingredients. This glossary should not be intended to constitute a limitative list of substances used in cosmetic products.
In order to inform consumers, cosmetic products should bear precise and easily understandable indications concerning their durability for use. Given that consumers should be informed of the date until which the cosmetic product will continue to fulfil its initial function and remain safe, it is important to know the date of minimum durability, i.e. the date by which it is best to use the product. Where the minimum durability is more than 30 months, the consumer should be informed of the period of time after opening that the cosmetic product may be used without any harm to the consumer. However, this requirement should not apply where the concept of the durability after opening is not relevant, that is to say for single-use products, products not at risk of deterioration or products which do not open.