L’oreal Supports Research into Socially Responsible, Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Animal testing is a contentious issue, especially when it comes to cosmetics and cleaning products. The concept of "beauty without cruelty" has been around for years, but consumers still have a limited choice when it comes to guilt-free, ethical shopping.

But steps are being taken to spare animals in toxicology tests. The latest news came from none other than beauty giant L’Oreal, which has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Agency to help put an end to animal testing carried out on behalf of the beauty industry. L’Oreal will provide $1.2 million to EPA to fund research, besides safety data from a set of representative ingredients used in its products.

The collaboration is designed to determine if EPA’s chemical toxicity forecaster (ToxCast) can be used in systemic toxicity tests. EPA is using ToxCast to screen chemicals to understand their potential impact on processes in the human body that lead to adverse health effects. EPA will compare the ToxCast results to the L’oréal data to determine if the reliability and the relevance are appropriate for use in the safety assessment of chemicals in cosmetics.

“Because of the high costs and length of time it takes for animal testing, not all the chemicals in use have been thoroughly evaluated for potential toxicity. ToxCast is able to rapidly screen thousands of chemicals in hundreds of tests and provide results that are relevant to various types of toxicity,” said Dr. David Dix, Acting Director, EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology.

EPA researchers have published scientific papers showing how ToxCast can be used to predict a chemical’s potential for liver toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity and cancer. ToxCast is screening over 1,000 chemicals in over 700 fast, automated tests (called high-throughput screening). ToxCast is supplemented by the Toxicity Testing in the 21st century federal agency research collaboration that uses robotics to test the chemicals.

“The urgent need for more efficient and relevant methods of safety testing is underscored by the tens of thousands of inadequately assessed chemicals in the environment,” said Andrew Rowan, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of The Humane Society of the United States and president and chief executive officer of Humane Society International. “A successful outcome of this partnership will go a long way toward demonstrating the value of advanced, non-animal testing tools and the need for ongoing investment in this area.”

Image credit: Go Cruelty Free