L’Oréal is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help put an end to animal testing in the beauty industry, according to an announcement on Monday. The cosmetics firm is furnishing the EPA with $1.2 million in collaborative research funding, along with safety data from a set of representative ingredients used in its formulations. The goal? To expand the scope of the federal agency’s ToxCast assay tool, which screens environmental substances for potential human toxicity. By comparing ToxCast results to L’Oréal’s data, scientists will be able to determine how reliable or relevant it might be as an index for chemicals in cosmetics—no flying fur necessary.
“Because of the high costs and length of time it takes for animal testing, not all the chemicals in use have been thoroughly evaluated for potential toxicity.” David Dix, acting director of the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology, said in a statement. “ToxCast is able to rapidly screen thousands of chemicals in hundreds of tests and provide results that are relevant to various types of toxicity.”
A tailored ToxCast program could expedite L’Oréal’s product-safety evaluations.
Although L’Oréal, which says it hasn’t tested on animals in 30 years, has invested in toxicology assessments using reconstructed human tissues, automated platforms, and molecular modeling, a tailored ToxCast program could expedite its product-safety evaluations, according to Laurent Attal, executive vice president of L’Oréal Research & Innovation.
“The urgent need for more-efficient and -relevant methods of safety testing is underscored by the tens of thousands of inadequately assessed chemicals in the environment,” said Andrew Rowan, chief scientific officer of the Humane Society of the United States and president and chief executive officer of Humane Society International. “A successful outcome of this partnership will go a long way toward demonstrating the value of advanced, non-animal testing tools and the need for ongoing investment in this area.”