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Maine Becomes The Sixth State To Ban The Sale of Animal-Tested Cosmetics

by Katrina Younes

Jul 5, 2021

Maine has followed in the footsteps of California, Nevada, Virginia, Maryland and Illinois in becoming the sixth US state to introduce a law that aims to end the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.

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Earlier this month, Maine passed the Act To Ban the Sale of Cosmetics That Have Been Tested on Animals. The Act was signed by Governor Janet Mills, sponsored by Representative Vicki Doudera and will go into effect on November 1st, 2021. The Act makes it illegal for retailers and manufacturers to sell or buy cosmetics "developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing" on or after November 1st of this year. The penalties for violating the Maine's law are a maximum fine of $5,000 for the first day of the violation and an additional fine of $1,000 for each day that the violation continues.

Although the document itself is only a couple of pages long, there are some unclear sections that will hopefully be addressed by the time the law comes into effect. For example, the Act defines many key terms, but the most puzzling is how it defines "Cosmetic." It defines "cosmetic" as an "article"

  1. that cleanses or beautifies the body, promotes attractiveness and alters appearances and
  2. that is intended to be "rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed on"

The same definition goes on to exclude "soap." I find the explicit exclusion of soap puzzling, especially since the Act does not define soap or how it is different from "cleansing.” There is another potential concern regarding exemptions. The document exempts, for example, cosmetics tested on animals outside of the US in order to comply with foreign regulatory authorities and animal testing conducted in compliance with Chapter V of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.

Regardless of the lack of clarity on some issues, this state-wide measure remains a great accomplishment to applaud and will hopefully push other US states considering similar restrictions, such as New York and Oregon, to take definitive action in banning animal-tested cosmetics.

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