The European Parliament this week agreed to the move that will cover all cosmetics, including deodorants, sunscreens and shampoos. The EU member states are now expected to finalise the ban.
The ban will also cover the sale and marketing in the EU of products made in other countries that have been tested on animals.
However, the cosmetics industry has warned they might not have enough time to develop alternative tests for many of their products before the ban is enforced.
They also warn it could hamper the EU’s cosmetic business by making goods impossible to produce and could lead to a black market in cosmetics in Europe.
Spokesperson for the European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association Annick Colman said they were very concerned for the future of the industry in Europe.
“The rules reduce the consumers’ choice and create a black market for products that are made outside the EU,” she said.
The industry, which she said accounts for .3% of all testing on animals, has had a programme for the past 10 years to find alternative testing methods.
“If we are to meet the deadlines we will need the authorities to help in speeding up their validation methods,” she said.
MEP Patricia McKenna, who was involved in the negotiations to reach a compromise, welcomed the ban and said it struck a good balance between safeguarding people’s health and getting rid of cruel tests on animals.
“I am really pleased with the outcome and especially that we succeeded in banning the sales and marketing in Europe of cosmetics tested on animals in other countries. Otherwise it would have made no sense,” she said.
The legislation will stop the use of potential cancer-causing substances and force manufacturers to list the name and quantities of any fragrance ingredients that could be hazardous.
Animal testing of cosmetics is mandatory in the US which exports almost €1 billion of personal care products to the EU annually.
However, EU spokesperson Per Haugaard yesterday said he was confident the ban will not lead to a trade dispute. He said the EU will work with the US to develop alternative tests that do not involve animals.
An estimated 38,000 animals are used for testing cosmetics for the European market.