Friday, June 10, 2022

Life is full of tradeoffs, reducing animal cruelty vs. increasing worker safety

See Animal-Testing Calls Threaten to Derail ‘Cruelty-Free’ Cosmetics: One regulator says animal testing for some products may be needed to ensure worker safety, but companies are pushing back by Saabira Chaudhuri of The WSJ. Excerpts:

"A legal tussle over animal testing in Europe is threatening to jeopardize what has become a key marketing tool for cosmetics companies: selling their shampoos and skin creams as “cruelty free.”

The European Union banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2013, a move that was cheered by activists and sparked a string of copycat legislation elsewhere. But the European Court of Justice is now considering a case in which the EU’s chemicals regulator asked a manufacturer to conduct animal tests on two cosmetics ingredients to address concerns about worker safety.

At the heart of the matter is a clash between the cosmetics law, which focuses on consumer safety, and chemicals regulations that aim to protect workers and the environment."

"The regulator, commonly referred to as ECHA, says it is looking out for workers who—unlike consumers—are sometimes in direct contact with chemicals for long periods and in large volumes.

“The way workers get in touch with the chemical is very different,” said Mike Rasenberg, the agency’s director for hazard assessment. ECHA says it has asked for extra tests on a handful of chemicals beyond the two involved in the case at the ECJ.

Mr. Rasenberg said ECHA supports reducing animal testing but that the entire system for managing chemical risks and corresponding safety measures is currently based on animal studies. Where animal tests can easily be replaced, they have been, he said."

"Anna Lowit, senior science adviser in the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, said there are still only a small number of approved in-vitro tests to replace many animal studies. In assessing whether certain chemicals can cause cancer, alternatives aren’t advanced enough to replace animal tests, she added."

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