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Accord reached on animal-tested cosmetics

A rabbit in a laboratory where cosmetic research is performed. (Photo: Artfully Photographer, via Shutterstock)

(*Ed’s Note: UPDATES our earlier story on animal testing and cosmetics.) 

The warring sides involved in California’s groundbreaking animal-tested cosmetics bill have reached agreement, and a compromise bill now appears headed for the governor’s desk.

As originally written, SB 1249 by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, would have prohibited importation and sale in California of cosmetics that contain ingredients tested on animals, starting in 2020.

Negotiations to reach a compromise began at the urging of the governor’s office.

The revised bill confines the prohibition to new ingredients; existing ingredients will be grandfathered in, according to David Quintana, a  lobbyist for the bill’s opponents. The measure will still not take effect until 2020.

“We came up with language that made them (opponents) feel safe,” Quintana told Capitol Weekly.

Even with the compromise, the bill “will be the strongest law in the United States,” according to Quintana.

Quintana said both sides began seeking compromise last Thursday and talked all through the weekend before coming to an agreement. “We are kind of both lobbying it now,” he said.

Negotiations to reach a compromise began at the urging of the governor’s office, although it remained unclear whether he will sign the final legislation.

Galgiani’s bill, the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, passed the Senate May 20 on a 21-9 vote. It is now on the Assembly floor. Approval of the amended bill there would send it back to the Senate for concurrence, and then to the governor’s desk. Paperwork putting the amended bill into print before a floor vote is underway now.

The bill was backed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among others. Opponents included a coalition of business interests, including the California Chamber of Commerce.

Current law bars cosmetics manufacturers and contract testing facilities from using traditional animal testing methods when there’s an appropriate alternative test method (that) has been scientifically validated.

The measure received scant attention earlier in the legislative session. But it developed into major issue as the 2017-18 Legislature winds down, pitting business interests against Physicians for Social Responsibility and others, who note that better testing methods are available than those using animals.

Current law bars cosmetics manufacturers and contract testing facilities from using traditional animal testing methods when there’s an “appropriate alternative test method (that) has been scientifically validated and recommended by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)” or other comparable agencies, the counsel noted.

Violations would be punishable by an initial fine of $5,000 and additional fines of $1,000 a day for continued violations.

The bill allows two exceptions.

First, if the animal testing is done as a requirement of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for evaluation of a health problem associated with cosmetics and there is no alternative.

Second, if the testing is currently done to comply with the requirement of a foreign regulatory authority. That exception would end in January of 2023.

A coalition of business interests opposes the bill.

“California’s beauty and personal care products industry supports 415,000 California jobs, adds $29 billion to our state GDP, contributes $7.2 billion to our economy annually and exported $1.75 billion of products in 2017 alone,” an opposition spokeswoman Tiffany Moffatt said in a statement.

Opponents include the cosmetic industry group the Personal Care Products Council, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the California Retailers Association, among others.

“Banning animal-tested cosmetics in California will encourage manufacturers to clean up their act and stop selling animal-tested products across the United States.” — Kristie Sullivan.

She said “the bill as written blocks California businesses from entering foreign markets and appears to prohibit imports into California. These impacts could put the state in violation of U.S. World Trade Organization obligations and trigger broader trade issues for companies here.” A manufacturer would be in trouble even if it unknowingly included even one animal-tested ingredient in its product, Moffatt added.

The California Chamber of Commerce said Galgiani’s bill “jeopardizes hundreds of thousands of California manufacturing, distribution and retail jobs…”

But supporters of the legislation noted that California already has taken a lead position on animal-tested cosmetics, and that federal policies make the issue more urgent now.

“Banning animal-tested cosmetics in California will encourage manufacturers to clean up their act and stop selling animal-tested products across the United States,” says Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., vice president of research policy with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Passage of the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act would be a win for human and animal lives.”

“California has long been a leader in promoting modern alternatives to animal tests,” she said in a statement. “Inaction at the federal level compels California to lead the way in ensuring a cruelty-free cosmetics market for its citizens by barring any new ingredients or cosmetics that are tested on animals.

“Non-animal approaches—including engineered 3-D human skin tissues or other types of cells and sophisticated computer models—are cheaper, faster, and can better predict human reactions. In addition, companies can utilize the hundreds of thousands of ingredients for which safety data is already available.”

In 2000, California became the first state in the nation to make it unlawful to use animals within the state for testing when an appropriate alternative method is available. In 2014, the Legislature adopted the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Resolution, urging Congress to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics and to phase out marketing animal-tested cosmetics.

 


  • John Schilling

    Good start. Jack it up a notch and ban ALL cosmetics as being the tools of misrepresentation and concealment that they are. Then, we’ll find that conservative women are naturally beautiful, and liberals are all walking cringes. Next, off with the clothes…or at least state uniforms for all.

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