Scientists funded by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization are reportedly guiding Chinese officials towards their "very first non-animal test method for cosmetics ingredients." Given that PETA is an organization not known for either ethics or science, I am deeply skeptical about whether this initiative, if true, would promote biomedical research.
From their press release:
Norfolk, Va. -- Chinese officials are in the final stages of approving the use of the country's very first non-animal test method for cosmetics ingredients, thanks to guidance from scientists funded by PETA. The 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Assay, which tests chemicals for their potential toxicity when they come into contact with sunlight and is already in widespread use in the U.S. and the E.U., is scheduled to be accepted in China by late summer. Until now, China has required cosmetics companies to test ingredients and products only on animals.
PETA awarded a grant to scientists at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) late last year after learning that China was requiring cosmetics companies Avon, EstÃ©e Lauder, and Mary Kay--which had been on PETA's list of companies that don't test cosmetics on animals for decades--to pay for tests on animals in order to market their products in China. Scientists from IIVS traveled to China several times to offer their expertise and guidance.
"We're delighted that this grant has helped jump-start the acceptance of non-animal tests in China and grateful to Chinese officials for being so open to these discussions," says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "We congratulate them for acting swiftly to implement the first of several available non-animal tests."