In this first edition of ‘Voice of the Industry’, a new series to the Cosmetics Design sites, we sat down with renowned toxicologist Dr. Jim McKim after his presentation at in-cosmetics in Barcelona to discuss what shift the industry has seen in its quest for animal testing alternative methods.
Here; the founder of CeeTox, a US-based company dedicated to the development and testing of alternative methods discusses what the industry is chasing down now.
According to the toxicologist, Europe is very much focused on validating and developing internal data sets that will accurately predict the safety of a finished product as well as its ingredients.
Across the ocean in the US, McKim says focus is on improving safety testing strategies by using human based cell models and relevant end points or understanding the mechanisms of toxicity.
However he stresses that; “We’re not trying to predict whether the chemical will injure a rat, we’re trying to predict whether it’s safe for humans and that’s a huge paradigm shift for the industry.”
On questioning whether the industry is ready now more than ever, McKim says the move towards alternative methods would have been incredibly slow and the funding would have been very short if not for Amendment 7.
“When you have to do something you create a need and that need creates grant money and funds to develop the new approaches.”
Since the implementation of Amendment 7 mandate or ban on animal testing for ingredients in cosmetics took effect for one subset of the standard safety testing - including skin corrosion, skin irritation and ocular irritation, calling for alternative methods.
On a visit to Cosmetics Europe headquarters last month , its president Fabio Franchina told Cosmetics Design that although it is vital to find alternatives to animal testing in cosmetics, it may not be possible to put a definite time frame on this, and that industry should be careful as to not lose innovation.
Meanwhile, Dr. McKim reckons cosmetic companies are under the gun to identify, validate and use alternative methods for safety testing.
The importance of the three R’s
On the subject of the reduction, refinement and replacement of animals, McKim reckons the industry as a whole has always been aware of not using animals unnecessarily, consciously ‘trying to replace and refine their usage.’
Click below to hear Jim further discussing the ways Ceetox can benefit the industry, what price cosmetics companies will really pay if not onboard with alternative methods and how they have to be as good or even better than animals at identifying the risk around new molecules.