Chinese Scientists Learn Cosmetics Testing Without Animals Ahead of New Regulations - Humane Society International & IIVS on Be Cruelty-Free Asia Science Tour
BEIJING (28 April 2014) – Scientists in China are being trained in how to use state-of-the-art in vitro methods to test cosmetics instead of using live animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, as part of an $80,000 grant from Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium. China is the first stop on HSI’s Be Cruelty-Free Asia science tour, which will also take in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
Through its Be Cruelty-Free China campaign, HSI has teamed up with global non-animal test method experts, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, to provide intensive laboratory-based training during the “2nd Workshop and Training of Alternatives Methods” organized by the Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (GCIQ). State-of-the-art scientifically validated and internationally accepted in vitro eye and skin irritation methods can replace tests in which chemicals are dripped in the eyes of live rabbits or spread on the shaved skin of mice and guinea pigs. While in vitro and other non-animal techniques are widely used across Europe, where cosmetics animal testing has been banned since 2009, in China such methods have only recently been adopted, and most Chinese scientists have limited access to non-animal techniques and testing facilities.
The IIVS training program, funded by HSI, HSUS and HTPC, comes as China prepares to remove mandatory animal testing for domestically-produced non-specialist cosmetics. From June, for the first time ever, Chinese companies will have the option to avoid animal testing. Gaining the skills to conduct and interpret results from non-animal tests is vital to help cosmetics companies make the switch from old-fashioned animal tests to modern, human-relevant in vitro methods.
Troy Seidle, HSI’s director of research & toxicology, said: “We are thrilled that our Be Cruelty-Free campaign has helped achieve the phase out of China’s mandatory cosmetics animal test requirements. But companies and health regulators will only adopt non-animal test methods if they know how to use and interpret them to assure product safety for consumers. Teaming up with IIVS to fill this knowledge gap in China is hugely exciting, and we’re also looking forward to meeting with policy makers and companies in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan in the next leg of our Be Cruelty-Free Asia science tour.”
More than 100 Chinese regulators and scientists will attend the opening workshop (ceremony and lectures) on alternative testing. Experts from GDCIQ, IIVS, HSI, Sun Yat-sen University, as well as two of the top cosmetics companies inside China — L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble — will update delegates on alternatives regulation and research progress from around the world.
This will be followed by a 3-day training course at the GDCIQ Technology Centre laboratories where attendees can see first-hand how non-animal tests work.
Erin Hill, Vice President of Program Development for IIVS, said: “Chinese scientists and regulators have expressed their interest in non-animal testing methods and are now requesting practical training to help implement the technology into their regulatory programs. As a non-profit organization, contributions, such as the grant from HSI, HSUS and HTPC are vital for us to carry out our mission. A portion of this grant has enabled us to provide hands-on training on two validated and internationally accepted methods; the BCOP to assess ocular irritation and the 3T3 NRU to measure Phototoxicity.”
The Chinese government requires tests on animals before cosmetics products can be sold on the Chinese market. HSI estimates that some 300,000 animals are used each year in China’s cosmetics tests.