Cosmetic Animal Testing
According to companies that perform such tests, they are done to establish the safety of products and ingredients. However, no law requires that cosmetics products be tested on animals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “urges cosmetic manufacturers to conduct whatever tests are appropriate to establish that their cosmetics are safe” but “does not specifically mandate animal testing for cosmetic safety. ” Likewise, products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) do not have to be tested on animals.
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A summary of the CPSC’s animal-testing policy, as published in the Federal Register, states that “it is important to keep in mind that neither the FHSA [Federal Hazardous Substances Act] nor the Commission’s regulations require any firm to perform animal tests. The statute and its implementing regulations only require that a product be labeled to reflect the hazards associated with that product. ” (“Cosmetics. “) There are many different procedures that cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies initiate to test their ingredients on animals.
It is estimated that 2 to 4 million animals, including cats, dogs, rodents, monkeys, and others, are tortured in laboratories each year in the United States. Alix Fano, the Director of the Campaign for Responsible Transplation, describes how tests such as the chemical ingestion tests usually cause the organs to become damaged and dysfunctional. He also gives further examples including spinal cord injection testing, where scientists will first intentionally paralyze the animal, and then attempt to undo the damage, but usually fail and the subject is permanently paralyzed.
The major tests cosmetic companies do animal testing is for eyes and skin irritation, toxicity and Lethal Dose 50 percent, inhalation test for perfumes. Draize (eye) injection tests attempt to cure blindness or eye disorders, but almost always leave the animal completely blind. However, what is the point of this if the testing on eyes is faulty and caustic chemicals can be determined by chemistry. Humans can easily determine that a chemical is bad for the eyes simply by studying the pure chemistry involved.
Neurotoxicity and lethal dosage tests purposely inject the animal with deadly chemicals to see how much it can endure before convulsing or dying. Lethal dose is the most common form of animal-poisoning study. Scientists actually use deadly chemicals on purpose to see what effect it will have on the animal, causing extreme suffering for the subject and leaving it either disfigured or dead. “Test animals may develop tumors or other nasty conditions and are often killed intentionally at some point in the test so scientists can examine the animal’s innards for signs of damage” (“Manimal and the Cosmetics”).
This inexplicit harm to animals is meaningless and cruel, producing results that are often not applicable to human advancements, because animals have different genetic compositions and respond to chemicals in ways that greatly contrast the effects seen on human subjects. A multitude of available alternatives for animal testing are both more sensible and efficient. Another kind of test performed to establish what skin care products are safe for humans which is called the skin irritancy test. This is a process that involves shaving the animals and placing chemicals on their raw bare skin and covering the skin with adhesive plaster.
The animals become immobilized in restraining devices to prevent them from struggling. This form of testing is probably by far the worst of its kind. The animals that undergo tests just for a new lipstick or perfume live in tiny, crowded cages in fear of pain and suffering. To determine the toxic consequences of a single, short-term exposure to a product or chemical the animals that undergo test, the substance is administered to animals (usually rodents) in extremely high doses via force-feeding, forced inhalation, and/or absorption through the skin.
Animals in the highest dose groups may endure severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and bleeding from the nose, mouth, and genitals before they ultimately die. (“Research Is… “) For the Inhalation toxicity test rats are either placed in sealed cages or squeezed into restraint tubes pumped full of gas, forcing the animal to breathe in the vapors of the test substance, usually for 4-6 hours per day for either one-day, several weeks, or months. Animals are examined to determine whether breathing the substance has toxic effects.
Animals have the ability to experience sensation or feelings. Animals caught in the web of scientific research suffer enormously both physically and psychologically. A major ethical issue with animal testing is that it involves pain, suffering and discomfort under some circumstances. Researchers do address the potential for pain by measures to minimize it when possible. They aren’t able to completely prevent any pain from occurring. Where possible, they will use anesthetic but for some types of testing, using a pain reliever can cause an interaction with the drug being tested.
This means for some testing they will not try to help the animal with their pain. Laboratory animals that escape outright physical pain and discomfort are almost always subjected to isolation, depression and anxiety. In fact the worst evil we inflict upon animals condemned to scientific research may be the act of removing them from the natural habitat, or breeding them in captivity, and then placing them in the artificial environment of a laboratory cage, where they have no hope of having the kind of life nature intended for them.
Animal skin and organs are not the same as human skin and organs; therefore, cosmetic testing on animal skin and organs is irrelevant to human skin and organs. Animals have different biological systems than humans do therefore the tests cannot be as accurate. Not only is animal testing inhumane it is inaccurate. Animal tests do not predict antidotes for product toxicity and do not keep toxic substances off the market and do not accurately measure human health hazards. They only determine that the product is toxic to the animal it was tested on.
Animals have different biological systems than humans do therefore the tests cannot be as accurate. Animal skin and organs are not the same as human skin and organs; therefore, cosmetic testing on animal skin and organs are irrelevant to human skin and organs. Scientists and Doctors have taken some brain cells and blood cells from a Human that was HIV positive and directly injected them into a Chimpanzee’s brain. They found out that the Chimps are not affected by the HIV because of the difference in blood cells. So they are unable to find an antidote for HIV.
So if we can’t use Chimps the most closely related mammal to humans to find a cure for diseases then what make people think that we will be able to by testing on animals like bunnies and rats that have practically no similarities to humans? (“Chimpanzees Test Results That Don’t Apply to Humans. “) Test results cannot be extrapolated from a mouse to a rat, let alone from a rat to a human. Each species reacts differently to various substances. Moreover, test results can be affected by the age and sex of the animals tested their housing and nutritional conditions and how the compound is administered.
While the reliability of animal testing varies greatly and is often completely inaccurate when applied to humans, non-animal testing methods lead to beneficial results. Besides saving countless animal lives, alternatives to animal tests are efficient and reliable…non-animal methods often take less time to complete, cost a fraction of what the animal experiments they replace cost, and are not overwhelmed with species differences that make estimation difficult or almost impossible. Animal tests such as the 3T3 neutral red uptake phototoxicity test can be replaced with toxicity tests on human cell cultures.
The chemicals in cosmetics are then added to the cell culture. A special dye that reacts differently to dead and live cells is added. The researchers then analyze the results with a computer to determine the risk a chemical will have on the cells. Cell culture’s form of testing has established itself as one of the successful alternative to the use of animals, in vivo. Few of the important areas where cell culture can replace animal experimentation are tests conducted for chemical absorption by skin, phytotoxicity, and skin corrosion.
The ‘Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’ (OECD) is known to have approved these tissue culture techniques as an alternative to the use of animals. (Laura Valderrama-Ferrando pg. 4) Human skin model tests like the Epiderm test, replaces skin corrosion tests on rabbits. Donated body parts can be used to test chemical rate of skin penetration. Also, the study of human populations, human DNA studies on computers, sophisticated scanning technology, and even human test volunteers can be replacements for animal tests (“Meeting Report”).
Multiple substances that are known to be harmful to humans, portray no negative effect on animals, who are supposedly used to test the substance’s safety for humans. “Of the compounds known not to cause cancer in humans, 19 do cause cancer in rodents…[also,] cigarette smoke, asbestos, arsenic, benzene, alcohol, and class fibers are all safe to ingest, according to animal studies” (“Testing Without Torture”). Animal test results cannot guarantee the safety of substances, because the differences between animals and humans cause each to react to substances in various ways.
There is no reason for scientists to discover if a chemical will kill a lab rat, if it has no relation to weather or not the chemical will cause harm to a human. Since alternative tests are conducted on human DNA, they produce undeniably better results. Alternatives have led to several monumental scientific discoveries and safety tests, further exemplifying how animal testing procedures are unnecessarily harmful. A company that tests on animals may claim it no longer uses certain tests, when in fact a very similar, equally cruel test is being performed under a different name.
Also, some companies publicize that they have put large amounts of money into efforts to find alternatives to animal testing. However, viable humane alternatives already exist and are being used by hundreds of companies to make safe and effective cosmetic. Cosmetic testing is not only abusive to animals, but also highly expensive. Alternative testing could retain the same amount of data, and is less expensive and not cruel to animals. Alternative testing methods are widely available and lead to more reliable results.
Hundreds of companies already use humane non-animal testing methods to ensure the safety of their cosmetics. The alternatives are more logical ways of conducting tests. Tests that is more accurate and less abusive to living creatures. Non-animal tests that are more reliable and less expensive do exist. However, animal testing cosmetics is still utilized by many companies. Since cosmetic are not required to be tested on animals and since alternatives exist, it is difficult to understand why companies continue to conduct these cruel tests.
Institutional inertia seems to be at work, caused in part by technicians, researchers and industry legal departments that blindly cling to the customary but outdated methods of the past. It is important to understand that some companies make misleading claims about this complicated issue. A company that tests on animals may claim it no longer uses the certain tests, when in fact a very similar, equally cruel test is being performed under a different name. Also, some companies publicize they have put large amounts of money into efforts to find alternatives to animal testing.
However, humane alternatives already exist and are being used by hundreds of companies to make safe and effective cosmetic products. So the next time you are strolling down the toiletries isle during your weekly grocery shopping trip, your eyes fall upon the newest brand of the volumizing shampoo you were searching for, and it’s on sale! Don’t envision yourself flaunting luscious locks of head-turning hair that create envious stares in your direction, and hurry to purchase the product.