OECD approval given to animal testing alternative in Japan

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

OECD approval given to animal testing alternative in Japan

Related tags Test method Cosmetics

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has given approval to an animal testing alternative for cosmetic product allergies for use by Kao and Shiseido.

The two companies are the biggest players in the Japanese market while also being major multinationals operators and by adopting the new method both are aiming to save time and costs, while also complying with ambitions to end all animal testing for product development.

The OECD gave its approval to the human cell line test, also known as h-CLAT, a method that uses cells derived from human bone marrow rather than live animals to predict skin reaction or sensitivity to cosmetic and personal care formulations.

h-CLAT evolves as major alternative

Both Kao and Shiseido have been working on developing the h-CLAT alternative testing method since 2003, which later expanded to involve other leading Japanese beauty players, including Kose, as well as international players such as L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble.

And now that the OECD has given its seal of approval to the testing method for Kao and Shiseido, it is expected that more international players will get the green light to use it.

At the end of last year the OECD released a draft for guidelines for the testing method​ using h-CLAT, which paved the way for the testing method to be opened up to the international market.

Replacing animals while saving time and costs

The test method replaces animal testing that was generally carried out in laboratories using guinea pigs, a method that animal rights groups have determined to be cruel and now unnecessary because of the proliferation of testing alternatives.

But on top of being an animal-friendly alternative, a significant draw for personal care players is that the new method should also significantly reduce costs associated with the existing animal testing method, while also providing quicker results.

Indeed, the developers of the h-CLAT method estimate that it is approximately 1/50th​ of the cost of the existing method to operate, while also taking only two days to provide the results, as opposed to four weeks for the existing testing method.

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