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China takes steps towards first ever non-animal test

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 08-Nov-2012
Last updated on 03-May-2013 at 09:58 GMT

China takes steps towards first ever non-animal test

The Chinese government are taking steps towards accepting a non-animal test for cosmetics for the first time, after a PETA grant allowed the necessary research to develop a new toxicity test, and the necessary training was carried out in a Beijing university last week.

The animal rights organisation donated $33,000 (€25,914) to the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), which used it to train scientists in China how to use the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test, which can replace the current animal testing system in place.

"This is the first step toward the end of cosmetics tests on animals in China."

China currently requires companies to pay for tests on animals in order to market cosmetics to ensure product safety, which has attracted a lot of heat, particularly in Europe where a ban will be implemented next year.

Training

IIVS held its training last week for 30 students and faculty at the Beijing Technical and Business University (BTBU), which has the largest university program in cosmetics science in China.

The scientists learned how to use the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability assay to replace an eye irritation test, in which chemicals are dripped into the eyes of rabbits.

It is the second time PETA has awarded a grant to IIVS after discovering late last year that several cosmetics players had been paying for Chinese officials to test their products on animals and had not provided Chinese scientists with training in the use of the non-animal methods used in the US and the European Union.

Work in progress

As a result of IIVS's initial work, China is now poised to accept the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test.

"Support from PETA has allowed the university to expedite the incorporation of hands-on training in non-animal (in vitro) methods to undergraduate, graduate, and faculty at BTBU. Both faculty and students are enthusiastic about the training, and planning for future sessions has already begun," says Dr. Rodger Curren, president of IIVS.

"PETA is pleased to work together with IIVS to show scientists in China how to use modern, humane, non-animal testing methods instead of poisoning animals in archaic tests," said PETA senior vice president of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo.

"This is the first step toward the end of cosmetics tests on animals in China."

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