Animal-Tested Cosmetic Sales Are Now Banned In California

This past Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill into a law which banned the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.


Written by Democratic state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani – the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act prohibits manufacturers to “import for profit, sell, or offer for sale” any cosmetic product that was either developed or mad using an animal test, if the test occurs after the law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

What does that mean exactly?

Products developed using animal testing may still be sold but just as long as the testing does not continue after that date. If the law is not followed, Violations will be punishable by a $5,000 fine, plus an additional $1,000 for each day the violation continues.


Animal tests that are used in the cosmetic industry include toxicity evaluations that make animals exposed to deadly substances by either force-feeding or sometimes inhalation – as well as painful skin and eye irritancy experiments. Mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs are the most commonly used animals and most are killed when testing is complete.

But there is an exception for animal testing in the new law that is required by state or federal law if there are no alternatives available. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require animal testing for cosmetics but asks manufacturers to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective” to ensure safety.

The European Union, India, Isreal, and Norway all have similar measures to California’s new law. A federal bill focused on shifting out animal-tested cosmetics known as The Human Cosmetics Act was introduced in Congress last year, but has yet to be passed. Glad we are finally following suit!


So that makes California’s law the very first in the U.S. – which is pretty cool! The Human Society along with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Social Compassion in Legislation both played a big role in advocating the bill to become a law.

Though, it is not quite perfect.

There are some major limitations – the biggest being that companies can continue to pay for animal testing on products or ingredients in countries where it is not required by law. In addition, they can still sell those products in the state of California, just as long as the animal tests were not specifically used to determine the safety of the product for sale in the state.


One of the major markets for beauty products, China, continues to require animal testing on all imported cosmetics. This means companies selling cosmetics in China would still need to pay for animal testing.

But supporters say they have confidence California’s law will move companies to then make international changes when it comes to animal testing, as companies, in general, do not want to pay for two different kinds of tests.

It has also been reported by the Los Angeles Times that China has slowly been phasing out animal testing, so advocates of the California law are positive the next several years will look different for the sale of selling cosmetics, internationally.

But more importantly, the law showcases a huge leap for those (hopefully, you!) opposed to animal testing, which could mean the U.S. will eventually do away with animal-based research altogether. And that sounds pretty good to me, friends.


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