The Cosmetics Directive provides a regulatory framework for the phasing-out of animal testing. It establishes a ban on testing finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals (testing ban) and a ban on marketing in the European Union finished cosmetic products and ingredients included in cosmetic products which were tested on animals (marketing ban).
The animal testing ban on finished cosmetic products has applied since 11 September 2004; the testing ban on ingredients or combinations of ingredients will apply step by step as alternative methods are validated and adopted. However, in the latter case the directive provides for a cut-off date of six years after entry into force of the directive, i.e. 11 March 2009, for an end to animal testing, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.
The marketing ban will apply step by step as alternative methods are validated and adopted in EU legislation with due regard to the OECD validation process. This marketing ban was to be introduced within a maximum of six years after the entry into force of the directive, i.e. by 11 March 2009, for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects a maximum cut-off date of 10 years after entry into force of the directive, i.e. 11 March 2013, applies, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.
The Commission is currently studying the effects which will ensue if the ban comes into force in 2013 without alternative methods having been developed, and has announced that it will decide on the approach to adopt on the basis of a full impact assessment.
Postponing the 2013 deadline for entry into force of the ban would in my view be unacceptable and unjustifiable. How far has the Commission got with its assessment? What is the new Commissioner's position on this issue?