For decades, one of the biggest dark spots on the beauty industry has been the testing of products on animals. And while we can all agree that subjecting animals to potentially harmful chemicals all to ensure that our rouge won't melt our cheeks off is in no way acceptable, for decades scientists have had few other ways to ensure that products were safe for general use. The sad thing is that animal testing has never even worked very well — it's expensive and it takes ages to determine results, which means scientists often have to pick and chose which chemicals to test. Meaning, yes, many potentially harmful substances go untested due to time constraints, and you can still get sick even if that mouse goes through hell for your lipstick.
And while many beauty companies have made strides to stop animal testing in the past, today it finally seems as though we have a light at the end of the tunnel to make sure both humans and our quadruped colleagues go unharmed. L'Oreal, one of the biggest beauty companies in the world, has teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency for a research collaboration to determine if the EPA's new toxicity forecaster, ToxCast, can be systematically used to screen chemicals in cosmetics. So far, the results look promising — ToxCast, a series of computer-based technologies, has already been proven to screen thousands of chemicals in a very short period of time, and it also seems as though it will be quite cost-effective as well. It just remains to be seen if these methods will be successful when specifically applied to chemicals in beauty products.
If all goes well, animals will no longer be test subjects, all chemicals can be screened so the public doesn't get hurt, and companies will able to do all this for relatively cheap. Everybody wins! And if it sounds too good to be true, well ...we're a little worried about that too. But for now we've got our fingers crossed for a successful outcome, so buying cosmetics can finally be totally guilt-free.
Are you optimistic or do you think this is just another empty promise?
Photo: Via EPA.gov