BASF’s Emergency Bid to Duck Animal-Testing Order Denied

(CN) – The European General Court on Thursday denied emergency relief to a chemical company from orders that it begin testing its antibacterial triclosan on animals to determine whether it’s dangerous for human use.

Germany-based BASF Grenzach makes triclosan for use as a preservative in cosmetics. But amid mounting concerns triclosan accumulates in the human body and can disrupt normal endocrine functions, the European Chemicals Agency ordered the company to test its product on rats and fish and submit the results by the end of 2018.

The problem for BASF is animal testing for cosmetic products is a crime in the European Union. So after the chemical agency declined to rescind its testing order, BASF asked the EU court to do so on an emergency basis – arguing it’s in a no-win situation where complying with the agency’s demand for animal testing means near-certain criminal prosecution.

On Thursday, the Luxembourg-based court denied BASF’s request for emergency relief – finding a lack of urgency in the request. For one, the court said BASF can’t be held liable for violating the cosmetics law by complying with an order from another EU institution – though the court did not address the likely public-relations fallout from doing so.

As for BASF’s claims it would lose its entire European market for triclosan without immediate action, the court said emergency relief for financial harm is only considered in extreme cases where a company could go bankrupt before years of legal proceedings end. The company didn’t provide any evidence that would happen, according to the court – likely because BASF Grenzach is a subsidiary of a worldwide company that posted sales of nearly $80 billion in 2015 alone.

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