California Could Ban Sales of Animal-Tested Cosmetics

If passed, this would radically change your shopping trips to CVS — as Clinique, Maybelline, Estee Lauder and Benefit all produce items in China, where animal testing is mandatory.

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Testing cosmetics on animals may seem like something of the past — and in the United States, it is, for the most part. Animal testing was phased out in the entire European Union in 2009, and in 2013, a follow-up law banned the sale of any products that were tested on animals anywhere in the world. The United States has mostly followed suit, and you’d be hard-pressed to find products on the shelves of drugstores that were tested on animals within our borders.

But — anything imported from China will almost definitely have been tested on animals, as the country’s laws require it. And as more and more companies outsource production, chances are you have something tested on animals in your makeup bag. 

California lawmakers, however, are fighting back. Senator Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton introduced legislation Friday that would ban the sale of any animal-tested cosmetics in the entire state of California. Called the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, or SB 1249, the bill would “make it illegal for any cosmetic manufacturer to knowingly import or sell any cosmetic, including personal hygiene products such as deodorant, shampoo, or conditioner, in California if the final product or any component of the product was tested on animals after Jan. 1, 2020.”

It’s not the first time the state has created laws around this issue. In 2000, California made it illegal to use animals for testing “when an appropriate alternative method is available.” As advancements are made in technology, this has become more common; It’s now possible to engineer 3-D human skin or tissue, for example, which is a cheaper, faster, and more ethically sound way to predict human reactions to shampoos and mascara. The list of ingredients used in cosmetics is also becoming more standardized, making it not as necessary to test each one before it hits the shelves.

“California has long been a leader in promoting modern alternatives to animal tests,” Galgiani stated, “Inaction at the federal level compels California to lead the way.”


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