L'Oreal Invests $1.2 Million Into Researching Animal Test Alternatives

Cosmetic giant partners with the EPA to test chemical toxicity without animals.

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L'Oreal Invests $1.2 Million Into Researching Animal Test Alternatives
The Sprague-Dawley lab rat lives for an average of three years during which time the animal is exposed to countless forms of painful and invasive testing without any painkillers. (Photo: Mauro Fermariello / Getty)

Nearly two weeks ago, I wrote that cosmetic giants L’Oreal, Avon, and Mary Kay were resuming the horrible, painful practice of testing their cosmetics on live animals, including rats, dogs, rabbits, and others. These powerful corporations plan to expand their brands into China, which still requires barbaric tests. The waste and brutality of retesting pre-screened products on thousands of innocent animals is heartbreaking.

In an interesting follow-up, the AFP reported Monday that L’Oreal has announced that it has given $1.2 million to the Environmental Protection Agency to develop chemical tests that do not involve using animals. The makeup giant has paired with the EPA to see if ToxCast, an EPA toxicity system that screens chemicals for possible health risks, can be used more extensively.

EPA official David Dix noted that animal testing is costly and time-consuming, which means that many commonly used chemicals have not been fully evaluated for their possible toxicity.

“ToxCast is able to rapidly screen thousands of chemicals in hundreds of tests and provide results that are relevant to various types of toxicity,” Dix explained.

“EPA will compare the ToxCast results to the L’Oreal data to determine if the reliability and the relevance are appropriate for use in the safety assessment of chemicals in cosmetics,” said a joint statement.

While this new system will likely have no impact on the company’s policies in China, it’s good news that L’Oreal is seemingly committed to developing alternatives to vivisection.

With increased consciousness in Asia about shark fin soup, bear bile farming, and eating dogs, perhaps the ethics of vivisection will enter the cultural debate.

Meanwhile, Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, is pleased about his organization’s partnership with L’Oreal.

“Using state-of-the art methods, we hope to show that products can be proven safe for the consumer without the use of animals.”

(Thank you to the reader who pointed out the error in my previous animal testing story. MAC Cosmetics is in fact not a cruelty-free alternative, as I had written. MAC is owned by L’Oreal).