WASHINGTON -- The California state Senate is consideringlegislation that would ban the use of animal testing forcosmetics and some household products. The bill is supportedby the Humane Society of America and animal welfare groups;it is opposed by medical groups as a threat to the use of animaltests in medical research and pharmaceutical development.

The Assembly-passed bill, AB 110, which is sponsored by JackO'Connell, D-Santa Barbara, and 23 other members of theAssembly, prohibits animal testing for cosmetics and householdproducts that do not have a medical application.

"We've gone to great pains to ensure that this bill does notaffect medical research," said O'Connell aide Cara Johnson.

Johnson said AB 110 is much more narrowly focused than a billthat former Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed last year. Thepenalty for violating the law has been reduced to amisdemeanor from a felony; the law would not becomeeffective until 1994; and medical products are expresslyexcluded from the ban, as are "dual use" products that could beconstrued as having medical as well as cosmetic or householduses.

Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop recently describedAB110 as "the camel's nose under the tent" that will lead tomore comprehensive bans on animal testing. At a Washingtonpress conference, he said it will take many years to developalternatives to animal testing.

Foes of AB110 include the American Association of PoisonControl Centers, the California affiliate of the American HeartAssociation, the California Association of Persons withHandicaps, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Congressof California Dermatological Societies and the NationalCosmetology Association.

Johnson predicted that the Senate will pass the bill before theJune summer break.

-- Steve Usdin BioWorld Washington Bureau

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