Studies in the beauty industry have shown that the over 170,000 vulnerable rabbits have experienced pain in laboratories around the U.S. annually (Nava-Martinez 53). Animal testing in the cosmetic industry consists of chemicals intentionally being seeped in numerous places of an animal’s body to monitor any damage to the body that may occur (Doyle). An initial thought of animal testing in the cosmetic industry is that the companies are required to utilize animals as subjects in testing their products, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not demand cosmetic companies to have their products be tested on animals first (Seeker 01:40-01:46). Instead, the cosmetic company itself chooses the method they believe is the most beneficial that results in inaccurate information. The controversy of cosmetic animal testing continues to stand because sacrificing animal lives remains to be seen around the world even when other strategies are accessible. Understanding that there are technically sound and effective non-animal testing methods present today initiates a struggle in grasping the concept that cosmetic companies continue to utilize animal testing in assuring that their products are safe for human use. Specific alternatives like in-silico and in-vitro methods are considered to be the most widely validated and precise strategies when testing a cosmetic product’s efficiency. Effective in-vitro studies include the Bovine Corneal Opacity test and the reconstructed human epidermis (RhE). On the other hand, dependable in-silico alternatives include the Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) models and The read-across method. Thus, animal testing within the cosmetic industry in the United States should be diminished because there are effective alternative testing methods. To see a decrease in testing cosmetic products on animals, consumers need to become more consciously aware of what they buy.
When cosmetic products are tested, there are a lot of factors that need to be deliberated, yet in-silico and in-vitro methods are intricately developed to assess all of those necessary aspects of a cosmetic product more efficiently than the trusted animal testing methods. The two main factors that are assessed on a cosmetic product are the toxicity and the proper application route of the cosmetic product (Luco et al 452). The determination of a cosmetic product being toxic is significant when attempting to figure out the ‘application methods (ingestion, inhalation, or topical application to the skin or mucous membrane), amount and frequency of use of these cosmetics, and the amount of a particular ingredient used in the manufacture of different products’ (Luco et al 452). Non-animal testing alternatives that are considered to be in-vitro and in-silico are advanced in identifying the toxicity level of a substance, which is why the dependability of alternative methods has the potential to increase because toxicity is significant in assuring the successfulness of a cosmetic product. In-vitro testing methods use ‘whole cells, part of cells or reconstructed tissues’ (Luco et al 452) to perform the required tests that accurately assert the safety of a cosmetic product. On the other hand, in silico testing methods have the same goal of developing strategies that generate accurate results, but in-silico methods refer to models that are constructed to precisely analyze a chemical’s functions and potential severity the substance may cause (Gellatly and Sewell). Both of the most trustworthy alternatives that are in-silico and in-vitro methods contain techniques that generate the needed results for the assessment of a particular cosmetic product, which means that cosmetic animal testing will sooner than later no longer be in effect.
An example of an in-vitro method that has full potential in replacing an original eye irritancy test known as the Draize eye test is called the Bovine Corneal Opacity Test (BCOP). The Draize eye cosmetic animal testing method continues to raise moral concerns to people around the world due to the past studies that involved harm to rabbits, which were the most frequently used animal in an eye irritancy test (Luco et al 451). Determining a cosmetic product’s probability of irritating the eye “is essential for the safety of individuals in contact with an increasing number of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients’ (Luco et al. 451). Therefore, the need for a technique that determines if the cosmetic product is harmful to the human eye is an essential method in the industry, but the alternatives like the BCOP that does not cause pain to living animals is an essential method that experts have the chance to incorporate within the laboratories. The BCOP alternative is known for using corneas of cattle to measure the toxicity of chemicals, opaqueness, and absorbency the eye may experience when applying a particular substance (OECD No. 437). To reflect how irritable the chemical has shown to be, the BCOP test provides an “In-Vitro Irritancy Score” (Luco et al. 451), which is a beneficial feature to have in the assessment of a product. The strategy has undergone validation that claims the strategy ‘..can correctly identify chemicals (both substances and mixtures) inducing serious eye damage..’ (OECD No. 437). If a damageable chemical can harm a human eye, then a non-animal testing method like the BCOP is essential in assessing the safeness of a cosmetic product. The BCOP is highly developed that the ‘validation database contained 113 substances and 100 mixtures in total’ (OECD No. 437). The assurance that statistics continue to show places the dependability of an alternative like the BCOP test on a new level, which could change the cosmetic industry’s future for the better. The Draize eye test has been claimed to show a possible reaction of a human from a cosmetic product that could damage a human eye, which is why the test continues to be exploited to this day. However, if past studies have shown that the subjects of the Draize eye irritancy test caused severe pain on the rabbit and there are developed non-animal testing methods that result in inaccuracy that could potentially be just as precise, then those alternatives like the BCOP can be the full replacement.
Numerous in-vitro skin models have been developed and approved. The most commonly used models are described as a ‘reconstructed human epidermis (RhE), a three-dimensional epidermal model cultured from human keratinocytes’ (Luco et al. 452). The artificial human skin is dependable because the in-vitro method has been evaluated on the efficiency and accuracy of the predictions the technique produces. In fact, “the emphasis on developing in vitro skin models to replace the in vivo equivalents has been increased further by the Seventh Amendment of the Cosmetic Directive” (Hewitt et al.). The remodeled human skin involves applying the chemical of a cosmetic product onto the epidermis to closely observe any sort of destruction the chemical may cause (Luco et al. 453). In the past, animal testing for skin irritation of a cosmetic product has said to produce exact results that reflect the human’s skin reaction of a harmful chemical. However, the ‘human skin models represent an opportunity to use more predictive and relevant (human-specific), as well as ethically acceptable, assays for human exposure and risk assessment”. (Hewitt et al.). An alternative that identically is constructed to mimic the human skin without involving the chance to continue pain on a live animal is the main asset to the reassembled human skin model. In fact, “the notorious Draize skin irritation test in rabbits can only predict human skin reactions 60% of the time. But using reconstituted human skin is up to 86% accurate” (“Alternatives to animal testing”). Even though that accuracy percentage is not at 100% yet, the comparison shows the firm believers in animal testing that those strategies should not be trusted as much as expected. A popular cosmetic company, L’Oréal, participates in reducing the usage of live animals that continue to be seen as subjects in the cosmetic industry, so the cosmetic company spends a lot of time and money on developing dependable RhE models. In past years, L’Oréal “invested more than $900 million in research and innovation” of reconstructed human skin tissue. (Woods). The numerous scientists that are a part of the L’Oréal team in evaluating substances “grows more than 100,000 human skin tissue samples annually” (Woods). The studies that L’Oréal continues to undergo without involving live animals is significant in understanding that the in-vitro RhE methods are strategies that can diminish the number of animals that experience pain in the effort of developing successful cosmetic products, which is possible since L’Oréal continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic brands worldwide.
The Quantitative Structure-Activity Relation (Q)SARs are technically efficient in-silico models that have been developed to prove that computer-based strategies are capable of foretelling the proficiency of a cosmetic product along with determining a product’s toxicity (Gellatly and Sewell). Initially, first thoughts about technology-based alternatives have predicted to be complex in experimentation. However, an alternative like the (Q)SAR models is simpler than expected, which is why this technological system is ‘the most frequently referred to in-silico approach in regulatory toxicology frameworks’ (Gellatly and Sewell). While considering the simplicity of (Q)SAR models, that does not mean that the results the studies produce are imprecise. The (Q)SAR techniques have been manufactured to generate distinct calculations in a substance that is evaluated through an advanced model (Gellatly and Sewell). For example, after the evaluation of a chemical, the results may describe that the substance is a mutagen, which means that the chemical could destruct the configuration of a human’s gene (Gellatly and Sewell). To have results that reflect information like this is beneficial in maintaining a stabilized health of a human when using a cosmetic product, but the identification of a mutagen is a result that animal testing methods do not show. The way (Q)SAR models generate results like this is from investigating the details of the target chemical’s structure (Gellatly and Sewell). Therefore, models like (Q)SARs do not require much data information to be established before the actual evaluation occurs (Gellatly and Sewell). Instead, the only information that needs to be known before the study is the proper makeup the chemical structure should possess (Gellatly and Sewell). In-silico alternatives like (Q)SAR methods have become essential in determining the toxicity of a product, so claims have been made that this model ‘should be applied, whenever possible, to derive estimates on toxicity before any experimental testing is considered’ (Gellatly and Sewell). Because the toxicity determination of the chemicals that make up a cosmetic product is the most essential aspect in the assessment of a cosmetic product’s safety, in-silico models like the (Q)SAR models would become a successful technique in the cosmetic industry, which demonstrates that the decline in cosmetic animal testing should take in effect.
Another example of an in-silico alternative is known as the “Read-across” method, which is a process that is significantly used in Europe when wanting to address the “needs for hazard and risk assessment” of cosmetic products (Patlewicz et al.). Because this is a popular non-animal testing method used in another country, realizing the popular alternatives around the world shows the United States that an in-silico alternative is an unfailing method in retrieving safety predictions on a cosmetic product, which is why in-silico methods (along with in-vitro) should be taken into major consideration in taking the responsibility of assuring the safeness of a cosmetic product. The ‘Read-across’ alternative is when the ‘toxicological effects for one chemical are predicted using toxicological data from another chemical that is considered similar in terms of chemical structure, physicochemical properties or bioactivity’ (Patlewicz et al.). This grouping of chemicals technique is not only beneficial in assessing the possible toxicity of a chemical, but the test requires that not all chemicals need to be evaluated (Schultz et al.). The pairing of the substances allows the study to identify the safeness of the unknown targeted chemical in a product only (Schultz et al.). After numerous studies that utilize comparisons of a product’s substance to similar chemicals, the data gets recorded into the database of the read-across tool. For example, the data within the tool “comprises over 86,000 analogues pre-indexed with publicly experimental data and links to data sources” (Patlewicz et al). Fragrances are a popular cosmetic product that has undergone the ‘read-across’ method that consisted of identifying the hazardous effects a chemical within the perfume may have. For example, ‘of the 24 published fragrance ingredients’ safety assessments, 20 of them (over 80%) used read-across to address/waive at least one endpoint’ (Ball et al.). The informational content of an advanced in-silico approach like the read-across model that is utilized in some parts of the cosmetic industry implies the advancements technology has overcome in our world, which gives reasons to why computer-based strategies are becoming more popular. As improvements continue to be made in technological studies like the read-across method, in-silico models are “increasingly gaining importance for the assessment of cosmetic substances” (Laroche et al.), which is enough reasoning to trust in-silico methods within the cosmetic industry.
Unfortunately, with practically new and developing alternatives that are considered to be in-silico or in-vitro comes uncertainty in the evaluations of cosmetic products not resulting in enough information to guarantee that a human’s health will remain stable after applying the desired product. For example, there is still not an available in-vitro testing method that can fully predict the human reaction after inhaling a cosmetic product (Seeker 02:20-02:25). That could be an understandable reason why some cosmetic companies do not fully trust the alternatives because that shows that the existing alternatives are not developed enough, which means that they are not fully trusted. Furthermore, the in-silico models have been identified as ‘not a magic wand and it is easy for inexperienced users to come up with inappropriate results’ (‘In-silico Testing’). Uncertainty in such alternatives is understandable, but consumers and cosmetic companies should be aware that alternatives require a lot of work to perfect, which is why continue improvements are aimed to be made daily. While the in-silico and in-vitro methods are not entirely developed and mastered, “they can technically be used to prioritize chemicals for further assessment” (Gellatly and Sewell). Therefore, the adjustments that continue to be made on alternatives are in need, but the positives that come along with non-animal testing methods could be used more often in cosmetic laboratories to develop products with the appropriate chemicals. Incorporating non-animal testing methods in the cosmetic industry as much as possible will limit the amount of harm done on animal subjects. Popular cosmetic brands like Lush Cosmetics is a successful company that provides high-quality products to their consumers while utilizing non-animal testing methods in examining their developed products. Moreover, ‘these alternatives are often more reliable than what many view as outdated animal tests, and are quicker, cheaper, and more practical’ (‘Animal Testing: What’s the Alternative?’). Even though certain enhancements need to be achieved, Lush has guaranteed that the alternatives are a lot more predictable than you think. The global director of Lush, Karl Bygrave, says that the existing alternatives ‘are so much better than animal testing’ (Bygrave and Chow 01:34-01:46). Reassurance mentioned from an expert that remains successful in the cosmetic industry could push other cosmetic companies to do the same because perfecting the non-animal testing alternatives will take time, but there are foretelling results proving that the utilization of non-animal testing alternatives should be taken into effect everywhere.
Due to successful companies standing by the alternatives and the validation of non-animal testing methods assuring a product’s efficiency, evidence continues to be gathered that builds the level of reliability of the existing alternatives. The in-vitro and in-silico alternatives are approaches that can prevent the inhumane animal testing methods from occurring all across the world. Although these alternatives have not been perfected and there is plenty of work to do that will make them efficient enough to completely assess the safety of a cosmetic product, consumers need to be aware of the brands that are cruelty-free and support them. Especially since the alternatives still need to be worked through, taking steps in avoiding cosmetic products that perform animal testing is important in diminishing animal testing within the cosmetic industry completely. To name some drugstore makeup brands that do not use animal testing methods to include ‘e.l.f. Cosmetics, Wet ‘n’ Wild, NYX Cosmetics, Burt’s Bees’ (Doyle). Other non-makeup brands that are identified as cruelty-free is “Covergirl”, which is a known brand to develop excellent body products (Doyle). Allowing the non-cruelty-free companies to realize that it is time to leave behind animal testing methods and turn to more consistent non-animal testing methods is essential at the beginning of a process that will keep innocent animals from being harmed in laboratories around the world.