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Household product testing using animals

Household product © istockphoto.com/wakila

We've campaigned against the use of animals to test household products such as washing powder, cleaning fluids, air-fresheners, disinfectants and polishes for a long time.


Thousands of these products are already available on the market and there is absolutely no justification for causing animals to suffer to develop more.


In March 2015 the UK Government announced it would introduce a ban on the testing of household products on animals. They also announced a ‘qualified ban’ on testing the ingredients on animals.


The household product testing ban is a good statement of principle
, but it'll make little difference to animal welfare. This is because no animals have been used for this purpose in the UK since 2010.


There are also significant concerns about how the ‘qualified ban’ on testing ingredients will be carried out. The 'qualified ban' includes chemicals where 'more than fifty per cent is intended or expected to be used as ingredients in a household product' at the time of testing.


We're concerned about how these chemicals will be identified, and how such declarations will be verified, especially as the final ‘end uses’ of a chemical substance may be unclear at that stage. The Government has also stated that the ‘ban’ will not prevent the testing of chemicals on animals if undertaken to satisfy other legislation such as the EU Chemicals Regulation (REACH).


We're also concerned to see that household product ingredients could still be tested on animals in the absence of any legal requirements at all, provided that the application passes a ‘robust harm-benefit analysis’.


However, this announcement does show that the Home Office can choose to consider the need for a product when deciding whether to license safety tests using animals. We believe that this should always be the case.


We strongly believe that the need for each new product or substance should be taken into account for all chemicals, regardless of whether they are intended to be used in the home or elsewhere. This would have a far greater impact on reducing the use and suffering of laboratory animals.