NEW YORK—Bowing to pressure from PETA and other activist groups to abandon animal testing, the Revlon Corporation announced Tuesday that, effective immediately, all new products will be tested on plant life.

A Revlon scientist displays a spathiphyllum which has been used to test the company's new mascaras and lipsticks.

"Before any Revlon product is placed in the hands of U.S. consumers, I can assure you that it will have been thoroughly safety-tested on a wide range of flora," said Angelique Christopher, a spokesperson for the cosmetics giant. "No lipstick, eyeliner, eye shadow, blush, concealer, foundation, mascara, nail polish or makeup remover will hit store shelves without first being put through a rigorous battery of on-plant tests."


Christopher concluded her remarks by pouring a bottle of Revlon Intense Therapy nail conditioner on a fern.

Under the new program, the mice, rabbits, pigs and monkeys that for decades were a staple of product-testing will be replaced with poinsettias, African violets, philodendrons and cacti.

"To determine whether our new Revlon SureHold hair spray is safe for human use, we will take a rhododendron, remove it from its natural soil-based environment, and strap it into a leather restraining harness," Revlon researcher Warren Gilbride said. "The plant's leaves will then be scraped raw and soaked in SureHold, and the spray will be injected into its stem and poured into its flowers. The effect of this treatment on the overall health and well-being of the plant will be meticulously recorded, and the product's likely effect on humans will be extrapolated from the results."

Added Gilbride: "A plant's stamen is remarkably similar to the human eye."

With Tuesday's announcement, Revlon joins a growing list of corporations turning to plants as an alternative to animal testing. For years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has tried out its new drugs on philodendrons. Since May 1998, Benjamin Moore has tested for toxicity in its paints by placing fume-filled gas masks over English ivys. And just last week, the Chrysler Corporation announced it would begin using geraniums in crash tests.


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