Prohibit Animal Testing Under Personal Care Products Safety Act, Urges New York City Bar Association

The New York City Bar Association has issued a report urging the revision of the proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act (PCPSA) (S. 1113) to incorporate a prohibition on animal testing. The PCPSA would amend Chapter IV of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of its products’ ingredients.

The report, issued by the City Bar’s Animal Law Committee, details the intentions of the PCPSA to promote the safety of cosmetics consumers and the workers who interact with cosmetics products, noting that while numerous health organizations support the PCPSA, animal advocacy organizations have been critical of Section 108 of the Act, which fails to prohibit animal testing. Stating that although “the purpose of the PCPSA is commendable” and that “there is a demonstrated need for increased regulations to ensure cosmetic safety,” the report explains that, without a ban on animal testing, the PCPSA could result in more testing on animals.

Currently, the FDA does not require cosmetic animal testing for any product or ingredient, and federal government agencies have approved the use of numerous alternative safety tests to replace traditional animal testing methods, including skin and eye irritation tests. However, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as well as other animal advocacy groups, the testing of new cosmetic ingredients still results in the deaths of thousands of animals a year. Animals subjected to these tests commonly experience significant pain over a protracted period of time and rarely receive pain relief. Further, the report states, “cosmetic animal testing has failed to demonstrate true product safety due to its inherent unreliability and inaccuracy.” According to the HSUS, animal tests to show a cosmetic’s toxicity “have never been validated by a regulatory body,” and thus “represent an outdated science of techniques that are not adequate to predict human safety.” Additionally, the report expresses concern that, despite the fact that Section 108 of the PCPSA requires the FDA to “encourage” alternatives to animal testing, the PCPSA’s second option for safety testing could increase cosmetics companies’ use of animal testing.

The report notes that cosmetic animal testing is prohibited in the European Union and other jurisdictions, including India, Israel, New Zealand, and South Korea, and observes that the PCPSA “requires the FDA to review national and international standards for cosmetic good manufacturing practice and promulgate regulations that are consistent with such standards to the extent the FDA determines it is practicable and appropriate.”

The report also makes the economic case that a ban on animal testing in the United States “would encourage China and other countries to also adopt animal testing bans in order to more easily access the lucrative United States cosmetics market.” Pressure on Chinese manufacturers “would provide a significant incentive to China to reduce or eliminate its testing requirements rather than risk losing a combined market of approximately $214.63 billion, including the first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh largest global markets — European Union, United States, Brazil, India and South Korea.”

The report can be read here.

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting reform of the law and access to justice, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.