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EarthTalk: Non-Animal Tested Cleaning Products

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

The Leaping Bunny logo is now displayed on the packaging of more than 300 cosmetics and household products for sale across the U.SDear EarthTalk: I am very interested in purchasing household cleaners whose ingredients and final product are not tested on animals. Where do I look? Debbie Reek, via e-mail

According to most animal advocates, the fact that manufacturers of household cleaners still use animals to test the toxicity of their products is not only inhumane—why should innocent animals have to suffer and die so we can get our floors a little cleaner?—but also illogical, as modern lab tests not involving living creatures can discern more practical information faster and for less money. Another problem with animal testing is that its findings don’t always successfully predict real-world human outcomes.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), for instance, animal tests on rats and rabbits over several decades “failed to predict the birth defect-causing properties of PCBs, industrial solvents and many drugs, while cancer tests in rats and mice failed to detect the hazards of asbestos, benzene, cigarette smoke, and many other substances.” The group blames these shortcomings of animal testing for “delaying consumer and worker protection measures by decades in some cases.”

While animal product testing is still allowed in the U.S. (researchers here are continuing to improve alternative testing methods that can potentially replace the use of live animals in the lab), Europe is leading the charge toward a future where highly trained lab technicians with computers and robots will replace sacrificial animals in assessing the toxicity of various substances. A ban on animal testing in cosmetics and household products will go into effect across the European Union in 2013.

American animal advocates would like to see similar legislation on the books in the U.S., but at this juncture it appears unlikely to happen for some time. Nonetheless, many are hopeful that Europe’s action on the issue will help move the cosmetics and household products industries in the U.S. and elsewhere away from harming animals for consumers’ sake.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to avoid household cleaners that subject critters to poisons, you’ve never had so many choices. Back in 1996 eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) in order to unify behind one standard for so-called “cruelty-free” cosmetics and household products. The resulting Leaping Bunny certification logo is now proudly displayed on the packaging of more than 300 cosmetics and household products for sale across the U.S. The shopping guide on the coalition’s LeapingBunny.org website points consumers to various household cleaning and other types of products that don’t contain any ingredients subject to new animal testing.

Some of the top household cleaning products that meet Leaping Bunny criteria and are practical for a wide range of domestic tasks come from companies such as Seventh Generation, Earth Friendly Products, Earth Alive, Citra Solv, Nature Clean and Vermont Soapworks, among many others. You can order these products online via websites like Planet Natural, and many are sold in natural food stores.


Image Credit: Leaping Bunny

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine.


  1. Thank you for the U.S. The shopping guide on the coalition’s LeapingBunny.org website! Very helpful indeed. I’m always looking for great resources like this…Thanks again!

  2. Ahhh, this treehouse is awesome! I had the Ewok village when I was little. I loved the net that you could “catch” intruders in; that was my favorite part.

    While I’m here, wanted to make you aware of a contest I’m holding on my blog. I’m giving away 3 cans of Clean+Green Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner for Cats and Dogs. It’s effective, non-toxic, and organic. Here’s the URL for anyone who’d like to check it out: http://madpets.blogspot.com/2010/10/cleangreen-dog-cat-carpet-upholstery.html

    Looking forward to the next post 🙂

  3. This means that everyone using the facility should know why green cleaning products are being used, and the importance of the green cleaning practices that are being utilized in order to protect their health.

  4. Hi Tom, hats off to you for posting an informative blog. I too feel that killing the innocent animals just for our selfish marketing motto is unfair. Why the harmless rats and rabbits should die during animal trails for our welfare? I am sad that the innocent ones are often dying if a new floor cleaner or cosmetic comes new to the market. I would appreciate Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) marking an end to the animal deaths. I am glad that I can purchase cruelty-free products and other house hold cleaners hereafter without animal deaths. I am also surprised to hear that more than 300 cosmetics that do not contain harmful ingredients for new animal testing are available. Extremely Informative!

  5. The product will be eco-friendly. That means, it will be friendly to animal and plants too. Nice sharing post. Thanks.

  6. It makes me so angry every time I think about animal testing that I can hardly stand it. The whole idea of mutilating, maiming, torturing, and killing animals so I can have cleaner floors or better smelling hair makes me sick. Thank you so much for providing resources so people can find products and support companies that don’t test on animals. It needs to stop. Now.

  7. Good article and info on the LeapingBunny website and certification. PETA also has a cruelty-free shopping guide available on their website.
    Another alternative to buying commercial cleaning products is to make your own. That may be more difficult with cosmetics or other household products. That’s not an area I have any knowledge in, but might be worth checking out.

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