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CEO Blog: New federal bill could roll-back state cruelty free cosmetics laws

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White rabbit being held over shoulder.

There is an animal-shaped hole in the cosmetics section of the new FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act (S. 4348).

Its comprehensive list of updates includes giving the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greater influence over the production of cosmetics.

However, there is no mention of prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics in the bill – and it might even nullify all the state-level cruelty free cosmetics laws that you have helped us get passed in recent years.

Since California became the first state to pass a bill restricting the sale of new animal-tested cosmetics in 2018, Nevada, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Virginia, New Jersey and Louisiana have all passed laws of their own. Excitingly, the New York Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act is now awaiting the Governor’s signature to make it the tenth state to join the growing list.

You would be hard pressed to find an issue which unites voters across generations, genders, and political affiliations as much as ending animal testing for cosmetics, as our recent poll illustrated.

Many of the now antiquated animal tests were first developed over 70 years ago when product testing was in its infancy. Now we know far more about how problematic and misleading the results of animal testing can be. The increasing number of non-animal testing methods are often cheaper, faster and more predictive for humans.

State cruelty free cosmetics laws and the Humane Cosmetics Act, which applies the aims of state laws in a nationwide bill, ensure that these modern tests are prioritised and that animal tests, if used at all, are only ever a last resort.

These bills represent an alignment of science, ethics and economics, and have received cross-party support and endorsements from cosmetics companies of all sizes, as well as the Personal Care Products Council, the leading national trade association that represents more than 90% of the U.S. beauty industry.

Both the Senate and the House must agree to and pass the same legislative text before it can be signed into law. The House version (H.R. 7667) does not contain language relevant to cosmetics so this is an issue that will have to be reconciled. Hopefully the animal shaped hole will be closed in the final bill sent to the President.

If Congress is going to update U.S. cosmetics regulation, they should include innovative state policies on animal testing, not strip them away.

You can tell your Senators to stop the roll-back by using our quick and easy tool.