The news follows the recent announcement by the scientific advisory committee of the ECVAM that it has developed five new in-vitro tests that could abolish the use of animals in skin irritancy tests altogether. Developed in conjunction with a subsidiary, SkinEthic, the process is available for use throughout the cosmetic industry and is set to contribute significantl to the abolishment of animal testing in the personal care industry. The ECVAM validated L'Oreal's 'in-vitro' tests, named the L'Oréal Episkin model, late last month with the process cited as a step forward in the company's aim to represent the ethos of its latest acquisition, The Body Shop, and become more environmentally aware. Jean-François Grollier, Executive Vice-President Research and Development at L'Oréal stated, "More than twenty years of research on skin reconstruction have been recognized, it is a great step towards the elimination of animal use." The company has been working since 1989 to develop human skin epidermis, recontructed on collagen, on which to assess its tolerance of ingredients and finished products without animal testing. Gaining the recognition from the ECVAM will allow the company to replace animal testing on 10,000 substances as required under the soon to be implemented Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation. The REACH legislation, enforced on 1 July this year, requires companies to pass the 10,000 documented chemicals through a strict assessment process, using animals as the testing facility. The chemicals then have to be registered with a new European authority, the European Chemicals Agency, in Helsinki. However, L'Oreal will now be able to legally assess all its ingredients with the Episkin process. Likewise the new tests unveiled last monty by the ECVAM will use human skin cells and waste tissue from slaughter houses to regulate the effects of chemicals in every day products such as cosmetics and washing up liquid. According to European Union rules, animal testing in cosmetics must stop once alternative options have been introduced, a feat that may be completed by the end of the summer if the tests are accepted by all 27 member states.