Testing products and product ingredients such as chemicals, drugs, household products, pesticides and cosmetics on animals is time-consuming and expensive, and the results are not accurately applicable to humans.
Predicting the potential risks that chemicals and products have to human health or the environment can be done accurately without the use of animals.
Companies can use multiple different methods to ensure that their cosmetics and other products are safe without testing on animals.
Testing can start with in-silico methods (computer models) and high-throughput screening to find patterns of activity that can then be followed up with targeted testing using cell or tissue models. Large groups of untested chemicals can also be assessed in this way.
In Silico Methods
These are sophisticated computer models that can help provide information about chemicals and their health effects. Automated decisions trees can be built using knowledge of hundreds of chemicals and predict how likely it is that a new chemical will cause a certain kind of effect.
Many computational methods have been developed to predict toxicity. You can find out more here.
High-throughput screening is a drug discovery process that allows automated testing of large numbers of chemical and compounds for a specific biological target: These usually involve testing chemical activity at the molecular level.
Other methods involve using:
- Ingredients that we already know are safe and that we already have information on.
- Human Tissue Models. Reconstituted human skin models can be used instead of outdated animal tests like the Draize test. For example, EpiSkin and XCellR8 have both developed in vitro human skin and epithelial models. Mat Tek has also created a wide variety of human tissue models.
- Read about XCellR8’s many regulatory safety tests that are entirely animal and animal-product free.
- Check out the Database of Validated & Accepted Alternative Methods (and others) for measuring oral toxicity, inhalation toxicity, ecotoxicity carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, eye and skin sensitisation and damage, vaccine potency and more.
- Return to the main page about alternatives and replacement methods.
- Read about why animal testing is both ethically and scientifically flawed.
- Learn more about how animals are used in science in NZ.
- Find out how you can help end animal experimentation.