Ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics

This page contains information oregarding the ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics.

Page last updated: 29 July 2019

Australia is implementing a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. The ban will be achieved by:

  • legislation to enable a national ban on the use of new animal test data to support the introduction of chemicals used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients
  • working with State and Territory governments to incorporate a testing ban through their legislation through changes to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Animal Ethics Code
  • developing, in consultation with industry and animal welfare stakeholders, a voluntary code of practice in relation to the sale of cosmetic products after the introduction of the ban. This will include an information package for consumers and industry around promotional claims that can or cannot be made on cosmetic products in relation to the ban.

The legislative component of the ban will be achieved through the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 (IC Act 2019), which establishes the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS), coming into effect on 1 July 2020.

The IC Act 2019 bans the use of data derived from animal tests that are conducted after the commencement of the new scheme to support the introduction of a chemical to be used only in a cosmetic.

Australia’s ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics and the commencement of AICIS will:

  • align with the approach taken in the European Union (EU), thereby ensuring the ongoing protection of public health, worker safety and the environment and minimal impact to business
  • encourage the use of information from new methods that do not rely on the use of animals, for chemicals with any industrial use (including cosmetics)
  • continue to allow, for chemicals with industrial uses other than in cosmetics, the use of data from animal tests where necessary to protect human health (such as workers exposed to the chemical in high concentrations) and the environment
  • permit the submission of animal test data in limited circumstances where this is necessary to protect human health and the environment from known harmful effects a chemical to be used solely in a cosmetic.
  • provide a transition period for industry to move to the new arrangements

The approach will allow for the use of animal test data for chemicals that have industrial uses in addition to use in cosmetics where there is a potential for humans or the environment to be exposed to the chemical, and there is no available alternative means of determining the risk of this exposure. This is consistent with the regulation in the European Union. This measure is necessary because non-cosmetic industrial uses of chemicals potentially present higher risks and more comprehensive assessment is required to ensure that there is no reduction in how the scheme protects human health and the environment. While there is a trend away from animal testing, it does remain the sole tool available for understanding some of these risks. The Department is committed to continuing to explore how the new scheme could further limit the use of new animal test data for introductions where the chemical has multiple end uses, including in cosmetics.

Implementation of the ban

The ban will be implemented using a variety of mechanisms. These include:

  • the development of a voluntary code of practice and communications strategy for industry
  • changes to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Animal Ethics Code
  • legislation that incorporates rules and limitations on data used to support the introduction of chemicals used in cosmetics

Following commencement on 1 July 2020, the IC Act 2019 will give effect to the ban on the use of new animal test data for ingredients used solely in cosmetics.

The IC Act 2019 will be supported by the Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules and Industrial Chemicals Categorisation Guidelines (Categorisation Guidelines), which will set out technical and operational details of the new scheme and the requirements for introducers.

Revisions to the draft General Rules arising from amendments to the IC Act 2019 and stakeholder feedback are currently being considered.

Information on the new scheme is available on the NICNAS website.

Through changes to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Animal Ethics Code, we will work with State and Territory governments to incorporate a testing ban through their legislation.

The Government has also allocated funding to commence work on developing a voluntary code of practice to assist consumers and industry in understanding the various components of the ban, which will be accompanied by an education and information package.

Q&As

Why is Australia implementing a ban on cosmetic testing on animals?

There is strong public support to introduce a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. This ban will bring Australia into line with the EU and other countries introducing a ban on using data from tests on animals for determining the risks of new cosmetic ingredients.

Will the cosmetics that I’m currently using disappear from the shelves as a result of the ban?

No, cosmetics already existing on the market are not affected by the ban. The ban will relate to new chemical ingredients.

Will the ban impact on the safety of new cosmetic ingredients?

No. When information is required to support the introduction of a new cosmetic ingredient the legislation allows for a range of alternate data sources to be provided instead of animal test data.

This can include recognised international alternatives to animal tests, for example, tests validated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), computer based modelling and information from existing animal test data of a similar chemical.

If the information requirements cannot be met using non-animal test data the new cosmetic ingredient may not be introduced.

Will the use of animal test data be accepted in certain situations?

Yes. Like the EU, the legislation allows for animal test data to be considered for environmental hazards where there is no available alternative means of assessing the risk. In addition, the legislation ensures that an introducer cannot ignore animal data that shows the chemical could have an adverse effect on humans or the environment.

How is this applied to ingredients that are also used for other purposes?

This ban will prohibit the use of animal test data for the majority of cosmetics introduced in Australia. The remainder of new cosmetic ingredients are those that are also introduced for other industrial uses. Based on historical data it is estimated that less than 1% of these ‘multi-use’ cosmetic ingredients used animal test information to support their introduction.

In line with the original commitment, these ‘multi-use’ ingredients are excluded from the ban. To expand the scope of the ban beyond this:

  • will be inconsistent with other bans implemented internationally (for example the EU)
  • will not reduce the amount of animal testing that occurs
  • could lead to higher costs or reduced choice for consumers
  • could lead to human health and environmental safety issues as the development of alternative non-animal tests to ensure safety is ongoing

Key resources

More information

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