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The Industrial Chemicals Act 2019: Facts and Loopholes

Updated May 2019

AUSTRALIA IS MOVING TOWARDS A CRUELTY FREE FUTURE - IS IT ENOUGH?

Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) has been fighting for a ban on cosmetics tested on animals in Australia for over 20 years. On 18th February 2019, the Australian Senate announced the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 banning the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals in Australia. This will be legislated by the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019, which will be implemented in July 2020. Under the new Act, formulated cosmetics cannot be tested on animals and "sole purpose" ingredients (those that are used only in cosmetics) cannot utilise any new animal test data when assessing safety or efficacy.


We welcome this progress towards a future free of animal testing. Nonetheless, we still do not have a comprehensive ban on cosmetics animal testing in Australia. Ingredients that are considered "multi-end use" (those that are used in cosmetics and other industries) can still utilise new animal test data. This is a cause for concern as many cosmetics are formulated using both sole purpose and multi-end use chemicals which means that ingredients used in cosmetics can still be tested on animals.


Contrary to media reporting about the Industrial Chemicals Bill, it will not mean that every cosmetic, household, personal care or cleaning product on Australian shelves will be free of animal testing. That is why it is now even more important to:


  • Use the CCF List as a valued resource to support accredited cruelty-free businesses

  • Get accredited if you are a business operating with a cruelty free ethic

  • Reach out to your favourite brands who are not accredited and ask them why they're not on the CCF List

  • Engage your local MP to enforce a comprehensive ban on cosmetics animal tests


Choose Cruelty Free's work is far from done. We need your actions. We will not stop fighting for the forgotten lab animals. CCF will continue to campaign for a comprehensive ban on cosmetics animal testing of ingredients and finished products in Australia, and worldwide.


Read on to learn more...


What is the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019?

The Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 became legislation on 12 March 2019. It is part of a package of Acts and establishes a legislative framework for the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS). It replaces the previous scheme, the Australian Government’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). From 1 July 2020, AICIS will regulate the introduction (importation and manufacture) of industrial chemicals. This will ensure that chemicals used in consumer products are safe for consumers and the environment. The Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules 2019 were released on 27 November 2019 and these will guide the implementation of the Act.


What are our concerns of this Act?

1. The new legislation does not apply to historical animal test data. The restrictions only apply to data obtained by a test on animals conducted after 1 July 2020.


2. Similar to the EU ban limitations, the regulations will only apply to cosmetic products and ingredients which are only used in cosmetics. Industrial chemicals do not include chemicals used for agricultural, veterinary or therapeutic purposes, or in food or feed. These are regulated by other legislation. Cosmetic products are considered industrial chemicals, and they will be regulated under the AICIS. Very few finished cosmetic products contain 100% sole use purpose ingredients, which means that majority of cosmetics, household and cleaning products are still at risk of being subject to animal testing (for therapeutic, agricultural, food, or pharmaceutical purposes). Animal test data of ingredients used in the manufacturing of cosmetics could still be admissible under the new Industrial Chemicals Act.


What is the difference between Industrial Chemicals and other Chemicals?


Cosmetic vs Therapeutic:

Cosmetics are governed by the AICIS. Therapeutics are not.


Therapeutic goods are products that prevent, diagnose or treat diseases, or that affect the structure or functions of the human body. Therapeutic's are governed by the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA). You can find out if the ingredient you're using is defined as a cosmetic or a therapeutic good here.


Multi Purpose vs Sole Purpose:

Sole Purpose: Ingredient that can be categorised into one of the following - cosmetic/therapeutic/agricultural/veterinary/food/medicinal


Multi-Purpose: Chemical ingredient that has multiple end uses including cosmetics and therapeutic/agricultural/veterinary/food/pharmaceutical. Many cosmetic ingredients have multiple end uses and this legislation allows data of animal testing of multi-purpose ingredients.


Some examples include: Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) can be found in toothpastes, medicinal products, food, household cleaning products, deodorants and other personal care products

Citric Acid can be found in food and additives, cosmetics and personal care products, medicinal products, commercial cleaning products

Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol) can be found in alcoholic beverages, paints, fuel, personal care products, or food additives

Glycerin can be found in food additives, toothpastes, soaps, candles, lotions, or pharmaceuticals

Vitamin E can be found in skin care products and dietary supplements


The harsh reality is that lab animals will still suffer under this new legislation. Very few finished cosmetic products contain 100% sole use purpose ingredients, which means that majority of products are still at risk of being subject to animal testing.


What does this mean for Australia?

We still do not have a comprehensive ban on cosmetics animal testing in Australia. Animals will continue to suffer and die in animal laboratories. This legislation does not mean that every cosmetic, household, personal care and cleaning product on Australian shelves will be free of animal testing.


What about China's animal testing regulations?

The ban on animal cosmetic testing in Australia will not extend to China's mandatory animal tests where regulations require that most imported cosmetic products must undergo animal testing prior to being sold retail to consumers. Companies that choose to sell their products in mainland China will still be available for purchase in Australia. We won’t accredit any company that allows their products to be animal tested, anywhere in the world. We urge consumers to continue to support companies that are accredited as cruelty-free, and use the CCF List as a valued resource.

As a consumer, what can you do to take action?

Consumers are integral to the cruelty free movement. Here is what you can do:


1. USE THE CCF LIST: Support companies that are accredited as cruelty-free, and use the Choose Cruelty Free List as a valued resource via online, the free mobile app or the printed list.


2. CONTACT YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS:

In recent times we’ve seen a rise in the number of products marketed as “cruelty-free”. The market, as it always does, has responded to consumer demand. Unfortunately, anyone can make a claim that their products are cruelty-free, and/or use an unofficial logo, which can be misleading. While the business may not conduct any animal tests themselves, there is a chance the formulations and ingredients may have been tested by contract manufacturers or raw ingredient suppliers. Looking for certification from an independent body like Choose Cruelty Free to verify their claims is the best way forward.


Consumers wield a lot of power in business so it is important for companies to hear directly from consumers.


If you find a company that claims to not test their products on animals, but you can’t see them on the CCF List, take a few minutes to contact them via social media or email asking them why they are not accredited with Choose Cruelty Free. The animals can’t speak up, so we have to give them a voice.


3. REACH OUT TO YOUR LOCAL MP: Write, email or phone your local MP and remind them that Australians want a a comprehensive ban with no loopholes. Choose Cruelty Free's work is far from done. We will not stop fighting for the forgotten lab animals. We need your actions.


Note: Choose Cruelty Free will continue to provide free, independent advice to Australian consumers on this issue. This page will be continually updated as CCF receives more information regarding the 2020 Australian regulations.


References:

www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do/corporate-partnerships/prohibitions-cosmetics-testing-eu-and-elsewhere

www.humaneresearch.org.au/interview/a-breakdown-of-the-cosmetics-legislation

www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019A00012

www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019L01543

www.nicnas.gov.au/cosmetics-and-soaps/cosmetics-and-therapeutic-goods#therapeutic

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