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Animal Free Cleaning Products

By: Siobhan ONeill - Updated: 26 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
Animal Cleaning Products Animal Testing

When we talk about animal free cleaning products, we don’t mean there are animal by-products used within some cleaners (although beeswax is included in some polishes) but that the products or ingredients have been tested on animals to ascertain their safety for use by humans – particularly where the product will come into contact with skin.

Animal testing has been used for years to ensure that products are safe. Since strong chemicals are often part of the cleaning agent and they are likely to touch our hands, it’s important to know how strong to make the cleaner so it won’t burn us. Bleaches, caustic soda and so on are irritants that can harm us if we use them irresponsibly and several recommend the use of rubber gloves and even masks when we use them.

What Tests Are Used On Aminals?

Manufacturers are obliged to demonstrate their cleaning products are safe to release on the market and in the past this has meant animal testing. Animals are subjected to the Draize Test where the product is dripped in their eyes; the Skin Irritancy Test where it is applied to their shaved skin; and the Toxicity Test where they are forced to consume the substance, often in lethal quantities, or have it injected under their skin.

The Alternatives To Animal Testing

Today however, animal testing is mostly unnecessary for domestic products. Scientific advances mean non-animal tests are very sophisticated and a much better guide to human reactions. There are very few new ingredients going into domestic cleaners, therefore manufacturers can rely on data from previous tests to demonstrate the safety of the ingredients in their products. Also, based on a vast understanding of chemicals and their reactions, scientists have developed sophisticated computer mapping programs that can run simulations to accurately determine the likely effect of skin contact from certain products. It is also possible to run human cell and tissue tests in test tubes. It's also worth pointing out the growing lobby against animal testing.

What Is The BUAV And How Does It Help?

The BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) is against animal testing awards certificates to companies who don't employ animal testing and operates a list of those complying with their Humane Household Products Standards. This requires the companies not to conduct or commission animal testing on their products and to operate a Fixed Cut Off Date (FCOD) with the ingredients they source. This means they must name a date beyond which they will not use ingredients that have been tested on animals. Some companies have a Five Year Rolling Policy. This means they will not source ingredients that have been tested on animals in the past five years; however BUAV do not support this as a means of preventing animal testing.

Unfortunately, under the strict guidelines of BUAV, very many companies and brands are not truly animal testing free, and even reading the bottle may not be an accurate way of discovering if animals have been harmed during the testing of the cleaning product or its ingredients. Cleaning products often carry statements such as “We are against animal testing” or, “This product has not been tested on animals”. Unfortunately neither is a guarantee that at least some of the product has not undergone animal tested. BUAV carry a list of those they approve and those they suggest you avoid. Although most of the supermarket own brands say they do not test on animals, BUAV confirm that many of them have failed to provide evidence that none of their ingredients are free of animal testing.

Products to Avoid

All the big manufacturers (Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble and SC Johnson) continue to use animal testing according to their own correspondence with BUAV.

Animal Friendly Products

The BUAV approved list of animal friendly cleaning products includes: Clear Spring (Faith in Nature); The Laundry; The Co-op own label products; Bio-D; The Oil Refining Company (Astonish); Jason Cosmetics (Heather’s Natural, Organic Cleaning Products); Aubrey Organics.

Between them, these manufacturers make washing up liquids, detergents, dishwasher products, window cleaner, polish and any other cleaning product you could possibly want. Check the BUAV website for more information on the supermarkets and other brands of cleaner that operate a five year rolling policy and for other statements about their animal testing policies.

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The London Oil Refining Company holds Cruelty Free International’s Human Household Products Standard. The demands of this standard are that we must demonstrate that we meet its core criteria which are to: Apply a fixed cut-off date after which none of our products or ingredients are tested on animals Establish procedures for verifying the strict implementation of our fixed cut-off date with product manufacturers and raw ingredients suppliers to monitor our supply chains Adopt an animal testing policy verified by Cruelty Free International Allow independent audit to evidence compliance with Leaping Bunny criteria The London Oil Refining Company’s fixed cut-off date for the Astonish range is 31st December 1995 which is aligned with the launch of Cruelty Free International’s Standard. Whilst we applaud other companies that have since adopted the standard we can be safely proud that no other major manufacturer of household cleaning products has held the standard for as long as we have nor do they operate under a fixed cut-off date as far back in time as we do. Since the launch of the Astonish range prior to 1996 the Company has never performed, requested or sanctioned any animal testing on the products or their ingredients. Since then we have also monitored our raw material suppliers in accordance with PETA and Cruelty Free International criteria. It is an accepted fact that historically almost all chemicals have been tested on animals, a fact accepted by Cruelty Free International, PETA and other similar organisations. The focus of such organisations is to prevent further animal tests on existing and new chemicals. Hence the fixed cut-off date approach adopted by Cruelty Free International within their standards. The data used to determine LD50 values have been taken from historical data that exists in the public domain. Some of this data will have been generated through animal testing performed in the past. None of this data comes from animal testing performed, requested or sanctioned by our suppliers of those materials since the cut-off date. Where a supplier of an ingredient performs, requests of sanctions any animal testing we will no longer accept that raw material from that supplier in accordance with the Humane Household Standard.
Nick Astonish - 26-Nov-15 @ 11:30 AM
Hi.I have recently crossed over to cosmetics' companies which do not test on animals. I live in Turkey so I usually buy my cosmetics, creams etc. in the UK, when back there. However, I can't do the same with cleaning products.Do you know which companies in Turkey do NOT test so that I can buy here?Any information would be useful to me. Thank you. Fiona MacRae
fee - 7-Sep-13 @ 1:50 PM
But if you look at the product information given as a PDF for each product by Astonish (I just checked the spray-on bathroom cleaner, for example) under the Toxicity it has LD50 (RAT) >30ml/kg as an estimated toxicity level. This means that one of the ingredients (or all?) has presumably been tested at some point in the past on animals. Others may know more than me and I am awaiting a response from Astonish.
beesun - 19-Jan-12 @ 1:22 PM
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