19 March 2012

L’Oreal supports cruelty-free cosmetic research but still tests on animals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its collaboration with L’Oreal to create an alternative to animal-based toxicology tests.

The cosmetics giant donated $1.2 million for research on ToxCast, a chemical toxicity forecaster. The EPA screening tool will be used to determine the potential impact of chemicals on the human body. If studies find ToxCast to be effective, the use of mice, rabbits and other animals for testing purposes may become obsolete.

In addition to the donation, L’Oreal will provide cosmetic ingredients to be tested by ToxCast. The EPA will compare the results to the L’Oreal data to determine if testing is relevant for use in the beauty industry.

Animal testing is expensive, time-consuming and cruel. This innovative technology can screen thousands of chemicals and provide results on different types of toxicity -- without injuring or killing defenseless animals.

Although an exact number is unknown, the American Anti-Vivisection Society estimates that more than 100 million animals are used for testing purposes every year.

In the press release issued by the EPA, Laurent Attal, Executive VP of L’Oreal Research and Innovation, states the cosmetic company has invested in animal-free toxicology for more than 30 years. But has the company put it into practice?

There’s an interesting twist to L’Oreal’s contribution to alternative testing. PETA lists L’Oreal under “Companies That Do Test on Animals,” according to its Cruelty-Free Companies and Products list.

While L’Oreal is committed to achieving cruelty-free beauty, the company still participates in animal testing. Since 1989, the beauty business has sought other methods to test finished products, but some ingredients are still tested on animals.

“However, for some ingredients, if there are no alternatives available or in order to comply with the safety regulations of certain countries and provide safety data to health authorities, occasionally tests [on animals] may be done as a last resort,” according to the statement from L’Oreal.

Hopefully, the generous donation from L’Oreal and EPA research will help all cosmetics companies make this world a more beautiful, cruelty-free place.

For more information on cosmetic companies that do and do not test on animals, check out PETA’s search engine.

Kaitlyn Munro | Tumblr |Facebook | @kaitmunro
Buffalo, New York Kaitlyn is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and minor in Women’s Studies. She worked as a barista at a vegan café before landing a job as assignment editor for a TV news station in Buffalo, New York. She's trying to be a “runner" and just signed up to run her first half-marathon in May. Also, she loves food - especially vegan cupcakes.

Photo credit: L'Oreal