To complement the human volunteer and microbiology testing, we have started a program of in vitro testing of the ingredients we use and the finished products we make.
By definition, in vitro tests occur outside a living organism—for instance in a test tube or a culture dish. Our in vitro tests use ethically-sourced human cells instead of animal cells and vegetable serum instead of bovine serum, making the whole process completely cruelty free.
The tests we use are a combination of OECD-approved, validated tests and newly developed tests, which we have chosen because we believe they provide the most accurate information.
We expect our testing choices to change over time, as new tests are developed and science progresses.
Many large companies do research using in vitro tests because the science is good, but still use animal tests when and where required by the authorities, without fighting back. These large companies have been reluctant to move away from their many years of animal testing results, and this has been supported in legislation. In actual fact, the animal test data is irrelevant.
We would like to see in vitro test data on the “material safety data sheets” of the raw materials we buy. Currently these always include historic animal test data, often just downloaded from the internet. This practice is accepted by law but is not relevant for us to assess safety, and can lead to suppliers not taking responsibility for the safety of their materials.
Our In Vitro Testing Program update – September 7, 2016
Our in vitro testing program is in its second year and includes both ingredients and finished products. So far we have tested around 25 percent of our all year-round products for skin sensitization, 10 percent for genotoxicity and 4 percent for eye irritation. We have tested all of our fragrance ingredients for genotoxicity and around 5 percent of our raw materials. The genotoxicity test determines whether a material or a product has the potential to cause cancer.
Dream Cream (original formula) is the first of our products to have all non-food related ingredients tested for genotoxicity. And the finished product is tested for genotoxicity, too. We are standing behind our in vitro testing program by explaining this to our customers on the labels.
Read the Lush vision for the replacement of animal testing.