In early December 2015, Canada’s Senate made further considerations for Bill S-214, which seeks to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals as well as the sale of cosmetics that were developed using animal testing methods. Furthermore, the proposed legislation mandates that the safety of a cosmetic cannot be determined by any sort of animal testing. However, a dispensation may be granted if there are no viable alternative in vitro testing methods for a cosmetic or ingredient already in widespread use and no other products are available which perform a similar function.
The future timeline towards adoption and enactment of the bipartisan bill is yet to be determined, but industry groups such as Humane Society International are optimistic. If the proposed ban does pass, Canada will join a growing body of countries including Turkey, the EU, Norway, Israel, New Zealand and India, all of which have imposed similar bans.
Over recent years, there has been a focus on developing and validating in vitro methods for testing cosmetics. These include testing methods for skin irritation, eye irritation, skin corrosion, serious eye damage, phototoxicity, skin sensitisation and mutagenicity/genotoxicity. These tests can be used to demonstrate the safety of cosmetic products before being launched on the market.