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New US bill presents opportunities and risks for cruelty free cosmetics in the US

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We call for Senate FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act to include prohibition on animal testing and not overturn state laws

The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) recently introduced the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act, which would reauthorize four Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee programs that would expire this year, as well as other reforms related to regulation of drugs, devices, in vitro diagnostics and dietary supplements. 

The legislation also contains additional provisions that would provide greater FDA oversight of cosmetics in the United States. However, glaringly absent from this part of the bill is any mention of prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics. What’s more, the bill contains a broad preemption clause that could nullify all state-level cruelty free cosmetics laws that we have worked so hard to pass in recent years. 

The bill contains 35 pages of new requirements on cosmetics manufacturers but not a single word addressing animal testing. Not only is this a missed opportunity to incorporate what multiple polls show is a top consumer concern for cosmetics, tucked into the cosmetics language is a broad preemption clause that reads, “No State or political subdivision of a State may establish or continue in effect any law, regulation, order, or other requirement for cosmetics that is different from or in addition to, or otherwise not identical with, any requirement applicable under this chapter with respect to registration and product listing, good manufacturing practice, recordkeeping, recalls, adverse event reporting, or safety substantiation.”  

The cruelty free cosmetics laws that have been passed by multiple states prohibit the use of new animal testing for safety substantiation. Therefore, if passed as written, the FDASLA could nullify these state laws, without replacing them with similar animal testing restrictions. 

The good news is that there is still time for language based on state legislation and the federal Humane Cosmetics Act to be incorporated into the bill and finally achieve what we and many others have been working towards for many years – a national restriction on animal testing for cosmetics 

Monica Engebretson, our North America Head of Public Affairs, said, Our polling shows that federal action to end cosmetics animal testing in the US wins strong support from voters of all political and ideological affiliations. Our work in states has proven that there is an appetite for legislative action on this issue. The FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act, if amended, provides an opportunity to reflect consumer values and affirm state action to end animal testing for cosmetics.” 

We are calling for key provisions of state cruelty free cosmetics laws that are also included in the Humane Cosmetics Act to be included in the FDASLA. At a minimum, we are asking for the preemption language to be revised to ensure that our hard won and popular state-level cruelty free cosmetics laws are not overturned. 

You can help by calling your two US Senators and letting them know that ending animal testing for cosmetics is important to you and that you support adding humane cosmetics language into the FDASLA. Find contact information for your US Senators here.

This is especially important if one of your Senators is on the Senate HELP committee. You can see committee membership here