Ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics

This page contains information regarding the ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics.

Page last updated: 10 March 2020

This page contains information regarding the ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics.

Australia is implementing a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. The ban will commence on 1 July 2020 and means any new cosmetic ingredients manufactured in, or imported into Australia will not be able to use information from animal testing to prove safety.

Australia’s ban on the use of animal test data for cosmetics will:

  • align with the European Union (EU) approach to ensure the ongoing protection of public health, worker safety and the environment and minimal impact to business
  • encourage information from new methods not relying on the use of animals, for chemicals with any industrial use (including cosmetics).

Implementing the ban

The Department is using a variety of mechanisms to implement the ban, including:

  • Legislation will commence on 1 July 2020, to enable the national ban on the use of new animal test data to support the introduction of industrial chemicals used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients.
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council is working with State and Territory governments to incorporate a testing ban through their legislation through changes to the Animal Ethics Code.
  • The Department is working with the cosmetics industry to develop a voluntary code of practice. The code will guide promotional claims about animal testing that can or cannot be made on cosmetic products. This will include an information package for consumers and industry .
  • An Advisory Group is being established to consider aspects related to the ban’s first 12 months of operation. The Ban on Cosmetic Testing Advisory Group will comprise representatives from the cosmetics industry, animal welfare organisations, researchers and Government.

Exceptions in limited circumstances

The ban on animal test data applies in all circumstances apart from 3 limited exceptions, which are outlined in the Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules.

Exceptions are consistent with the European Union’s regulation and are necessary to protect human health and the environment. While there is a trend away from animal testing, it does enable understanding some of these risks. 

New industrial chemicals regulation scheme

Following its commencement on 1 July 2020, the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 will give effect to the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS).

In addition to the Act, the Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules and Industrial Chemicals Categorisation Guidelines (Categorisation Guidelines) set out AICIS’ technical and operational details and the requirements for introducers.

Information about AICIS is available on the NICNAS website.

Q&As

Why is Australia implementing a ban on cosmetic testing on animals?

There is strong public support to introduce a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. This ban will bring Australia into line with the EU and other countries introducing a ban on using data from tests on animals for determining the risks of new cosmetic ingredients.

Will the cosmetics that I’m currently using disappear from the shelves as a result of the ban?

No, cosmetics already existing on the market are not affected by the ban. The ban will relate to new cosmetic ingredients.

Does animal testing for cosmetics take place in Australia?

No. Animal testing for cosmetic ingredients does not happen in Australia. The ban is protecting against this type of testing in the future, plus supporting innovation.

Will the ban impact on the safety of new cosmetic ingredients?

No. When information is required to support the introduction of a new cosmetic ingredient, the legislation allows for a range of alternate data sources to be provided instead of animal test data.

This can include recognised international alternatives to animal tests, for example, tests validated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), computer- based modelling and information from existing animal test data of a similar chemical.

If the information requirements cannot be met using non-animal test data, the new cosmetic ingredient may not be introduced.

Will the use of animal test data be accepted in certain situations?

Yes. Like the EU, the legislation allows for animal test data to be considered for environmental hazards where there are no available alternative means of assessing the risk. The Act also ensures that an introducer cannot ignore animal data that shows the chemical could harm humans or the environment.

How is the ban applied to ingredients also used for other purposes?

The ban will cover most cosmetics introduced in Australia.

However, new cosmetic ingredients may also have other industrial uses. These are known as multi-use chemicals, for example, perfumes and scents used in cosmetics and cleaning products.

  • Historical data suggest, less than 1% of these multi-use cosmetic ingredients used animal test information to prove their safety .

In line with the Government’s original commitment, these multi-use ingredients are excluded from the ban. To expand the scope of the ban beyond this:

  • will be inconsistent with other bans implemented internationally (for example the EU)
  • will not reduce the amount of animal testing that occurs
  • could lead to higher costs or reduced choice for consumers
  • could lead to human health and environmental safety issues as the development of alternative non-animal tests to ensure safety is ongoing.

More information

For all media enquiries please email news@health.gov.au