Ban on the use of new animal test data for cosmetic ingredients

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The use of animal test data to support the introduction of cosmetic chemicals is decreasing. Cheaper and equally reliable non-animal alternatives have become increasingly available since the introduction of a ban in the European Union (EU). The broader reforms further encourage the use of these alternative methods to support the introduction of chemicals onto the Australian market, through the information acceptable for categorisation and assessment (see Supporting material).

The Australian Government announced a package of initiatives to ban cosmetic testing on animals. The ban will improve animal welfare in Australia while maintaining Australia’s strong human health and environmental protection standards.

As a part of implementing this policy, a national ban on the use of new animal test data to support the introduction of chemicals used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients will be introduced through the new Industrial Chemicals Bill. This will mean that animal test data produced after 1 July 2018 cannot be used to meet the information requirements for categorisation or assessment of unlisted chemical introductions, where the only end use is cosmetics.

The ban also seeks to align its regulatory approach with those taken internationally, in particular the EU. The EU Cosmetics Regulation prohibits the use of animal test data to support the introduction of a cosmetic product onto the market. However, in limited circumstances animal test data is permitted to protect workers and the environment under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation (REACH).

To maintain current levels of human health and environment protection and align with the EU, it is proposed that the rules accompanying the new legislation will provide for limited circumstances where data may need to be considered to protect human health and the environment. These protections would be:

Human health

If animal test data produced after 1 July 2018 was generated for other purposes (e.g. for compliance with overseas chemical regulations) and showed that the chemical was potentially hazardous to human health, this information may need to be considered in categorising the chemical, and submitted to AICIS if categorised as Assessed.  This protection prevents an introducer from ignoring adverse information that is already available to them. It is similar to the EU, where manufacturers cannot produce animal test data for the EU, but also cannot ignore existing data.

Environment

If animal test data produced after 1 July 2018 was to assess environmental hazards, it could be used for categorisation or submitted to AICIS as part of an assessment certificate application. This would apply only where there were no validated non-animal alternatives. This protection would be aligned with the situation in the EU under REACH.

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Last update 17 August 2017