Animal testing for cosmetics research
Cosmetics are one of the most famous commercial products patronized by the female population. There are currently a plethora of brands, as well as cosmetic products that are marketed around the world, from the simplest face powders and moisturizers to the more sophisticated bronzers, mascaras and concealers. It should be understood that each cosmetic product has undergone a battery of tests, from its effectiveness in delivering the expected cosmetic result, to its safety for application.
One risk strongly associated with cosmetic production is the employment of animals as test organisms. To the manufacturers point of view, it is of utmost importance that each cosmetic product has been tested in terms of its effects on the user and test animals thus seem to be the most appropriate organism to use. There is a wide range of tests that need to be determined for each cosmetic product. One of the assays conducted on cosmetics is to determine the toxicity of the cosmetic product (Nigam 11). Other tests facilitate in knowing whether any form of irritation results from the application of the cosmetic product. Among these are irritations to the skin, the eyes, as well as other parts of the body. Toxicity assays also important to establish, especially when there are certain mutagenic effects that are caused by active ingredients of the cosmetic product.
It is good to know that consumers of cosmetic products are spared from experiencing any adverse reactions with the application of a particular item. However, it is still unfortunate to learn that animals are instead, used as testing organisms for screening effects of these commercial products. It is disheartening to see that before a particular cosmetic product claims that the item is indeed toxic when ingested, a number of mice or rabbits may have been fed with these items and observed for any adverse response to its consumption. Another scenario is that when a commercial product is claimed to cause eye irritation, there it is easy to imagine that a certain number of small animals had to undergo that exact scenario of having the commercial product introduced into their eyes in order to determine whether any irritation did indeed occur.
It is important to understand that similar to human beings, animals can also feel the torture of being introduced to different types of reagents. It is unfortunate that these animals could not express how they feel or think about testing products on them, yet we ourselves do not want to be treated as test individuals in any kind of experiment. Imagine how each individual would feel if he knew that a certain chemical is added into his meal in order to determine if that particular reagent will cause gastrointestinal irritation? To make the scenario even worse, imagine how a person would feel if he knew that a certain chemical is given to him daily for a duration of three months because the experimenter wanted to know if the chemical does indeed cause cancer?
The number of cases of allergies from cosmetic products has increased in the last few decades. It is important to understand that there may be specific chemicals that are incorporated into the cosmetic product that are not safe for use not only on human beings, but on other mammalian species as well. The main purpose of a cosmetic product is to enhance or to beautify an individual’s features but this should never be achieved at the expense of any other living organism. As sensitive and caring members of the society, do the lives and health of smaller animals mean nothing to us as long as we feel beautiful on the outside?
It is thus imperative that consumers acknowledge the fact that for several decades, millions of small animals such as mice and rabbits have died due to testing of thousands of cosmetic products that are now out in market. The amount of money spent by these manufacturers is wasted in setting up laboratories that are designed to inflict harm on these smaller living creatures. It is sad to recognize the fact that these test animals are harmless living creatures that were doomed to experience the most inhumane methods of experimentation, from administration of different chemicals into almost every part of their body. This exposure is not performed only once, but several times until an actual physical adverse effect is observed. Animal testing does not involve the psychological testing of animals, on whether they experience any form of stress or paranoia upon the administration of a chemical.
We should always remember the torture chambers that were erected during World War II, when thousands of innocent people were locked up in chambers and a deadly gas was pumped into this cubicle. We all know that we will never forget that event and how thousands of lives were lost, all because of one insane individual’s greed for power to control the world. Isn’t this scenario the counterpart of testing animals for “safety” purposes?
Let us now take an active stand to animal testing, showing our rage against this act, as well as express our concern to these small creatures. It would be helpful contribution if we only purchase cosmetic products that have not been tested on animals, as this will be an assurance for us that not a single animal died from the production of this commercial product. Each individual can save the life of an animal if he or she reads the label of the cosmetic product and look for the phrase stating “tested on animals”. Once this phrase is found on the information label of the cosmetic product, do refrain from buying this item. When several individuals perform this concerted effort of avoiding these products that were manufactured through inflicting harm and cruelty to animals, these companies will lose revenue and will eventually learn that animal testing is not to right way to conduct business.
Nigam, P.K. “Adverse Reactions to Cosmetics and Methods of Testing.” Indian J Dermatology,
Venereology and Leprology, 75 (2009), 10-19.