Chemical Ingredients in Cosmetics: The ECHA Continues to Request Data from Experiments on Animals

study published in mid-August has revealed a weakness in EU legislation. Although the EU  Cosmetics Regulation has forbidden animal experiments for cosmetic products since 2013, REACH actually requires data from animal experiments in many cases. The crux of the matter is that chemicals in cosmetics must be safe for consumers, in which case the Cosmetics Regulation applies, and for the workers who manufacture the ingredients, in which REACH applies. The ECHA bases its requests on the latter and requires comprehensive toxicological data for work safety – data that only animal experiments can provide. 

A team of researchers wanted to know how many chemicals are involved and examined more than 3,000 registration dossiers. The scientists found that 419 chemicals had been registered for exclusive use in cosmetics. Some 63 of those substances generated data as part of animal experiments, although the Cosmetics Regulation has prohibited such experiments since 2013. The industry does not want to be made responsible for a problem that no one else wants to deal with. It argues that animal experiments do not make cosmetics any safer and that data from non-animal testing is adequate.  

The conflict between the ECHA and industry has smoldered since the lawsuit between Symrise, a manufacturer of cosmetic ingredients, and the ECHA. The Agency demanded additional data from Symrise on animal experiments for two salicylates, 2-ethylhexyl salicylate and homosalate. The manufacturer sued the ECHA, but the EU dismissed the case.  

The researchers called for making consumers aware of the issue and raising public awareness about the REACH tests and the dilemma with animal experiments to help find a quick solution at the legislative level.  

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