By Elizabeth Lopez
When I launched a beauty care line a few years ago here in Washington State, I made a commitment not to allow our products or ingredients to be subjected to further animal testing. . I wanted the brand to be based on the principle that society should evolve cosmetic testing towards more human-relevant methods and a cruelty-free future. Right now in the US Congress there is a chance to take a big step in that direction with the passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act.
The simple premise of the HCA involves a ban on testing new cosmetics on animals in the United States as well as the sale of cosmetics that have recently been tested on animals in other countries. In addition, the bill would place limits on a manufacturer’s ability to use information from animal testing performed to meet safety requirements for ingredients also used in non-cosmetic products. It has substantial bipartisan support in the House and Senate, as well as the backing of the Personal Care Products Council, the national trade association representing 90% of the cosmetics industry.
It’s true, regulated stakeholders support the law. For decades cosmetic companies have been able to create high quality products using the thousands of ingredients available with a history of safe use. For new ingredients, cosmetics companies have also been at the forefront of developing non-animal methods, and these technologies provide better scientific information, grounded in human biology, and more accurate to predict human safety. Additionally, these methods are often less expensive and can be completed more quickly than traditional animal testing.
Either way, a nationwide ban on animal testing for cosmetics would align the United States with more than 40 countries and nine states that have passed laws to end or limit it. In some ways, it’s about staying competitive with other markets. But there is also a moral question. None of us should be happy with the routine use of animals to test such products, and we shouldn’t miss such an opportunity to show them some mercy.
With that in mind, millions of Americans, including many Washington residents, are ready to support an end to testing they consider unnecessary and inhumane, and it would be nice if Senator Patty Murray joined Senator Maria Cantwell as HCA co-sponsor. .
But Senator Murray can do more, as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Recently, despite strong pressure from animal welfare advocates, the Committee refused to include HCA provisions in the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act, landmark legislation that involves the five-year reauthorization of health care fee programs. FDA use for prescription drugs and biologics. , medical devices, generics and biosimilars. The case for inclusion was strong because the legislation also grants the FDA new cosmetic oversight.
In a more concerning development, the committee opted to include language that could prevent states from passing their own laws regarding the manufacture or sale of animal-tested cosmetics. It is bad policy.
Senator Murray is uniquely positioned to push for the inclusion of the HCA in any final Senate bill or push to change the highly problematic preemptive language of the current package. Whatever the path to passing a ban on cosmetic animal testing, Senator Murray has a central role to play. The same goes for Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, who, as a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is also well-positioned to guide the HCA through the 117th Congress.
Elizabeth Lopez is the CEO and Founder of Rue Santé, a mindfulness-based beauty care company committed to cruelty-free and eco-friendly values.