Animal testing is done in the cosmetics industry as a way of determining product safety for humans. The tests are highly controversial because they are seen by many, including PETA, as inhumane.
In order to determine if a particular perfume could irritate the skin, scientists perform the “Draize
Eye/Skin” test. This is done by dropping or smearing some of the product onto the skin of rabbits. Potential harm to human eyes is detected by dripping some of the chemical into the rabbits eyes.
Rodents are the animal of choice for toxicity tests. These tests are performed either by inhalation or by force feeding large doses of the ingredient to the mice.
According to FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) most animals are euthanized after testing by methods considered humane from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The FDA urges cosmetic manufacturers to use whatever methods they need to ensure their product is safe for the public. They do not advocate animal testing, but admit it may be the only alternative in some instances.
Choose products that are part of Peta's Cruelty Free program. These are companies which profess to use alternate testing. PETA has launched a website which can tell you almost instantly whether or not your perfume or other cosmetic choice takes part in animal testing.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Anna Levinzon