Animal Testing in the Cosmetic Industry: An Increasingly Controversial Issue

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Animal testing has become an increasingly controversial issue since the 1980s. This has been the case especially in the cosmetics industry, where esthetic value rather than necessity is at the core of the industry. Since information regarding the often unnecessarily cruel practice of animal testing has become public knowledge, many activist groups have targeted the industry to pressure manufacturers into stopping practices that have been deemed unacceptable. While some of these efforts have met with some success, many cosmetic companies still do use animal testing in a somewhat covert way, despite public claims that this is not the case. Another concern for activists is the harmful chemicals in cosmetics. These are marketed to a largely uninformed public. Some of these substances are even claimed to cause various types of cancer, such as breast cancer in women. Activist groups therefore worked to raise public awareness of a largely unregulated industry in which especially giant companies have concealed their unethical practices in order to promote sales. Cornelia Dum's website (2013) lists several activists that have put pressure on the industry to change its practices. The David Suzuki Foundation, for example, published an 2010 report providing an overview of toxic chemical products in commonly used cosmetics. Many of these are also proven to be harmful to the environment. The purpose of the report is to stimulate better regulation and more accurate labeling of cosmetics.

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