Toxic Tattoo Ink?

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Reports on the Dangers Associated with Getting Inked

A recent report by The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) claims that tattoo inks can be toxic and may increase the risk of a number of undesirable health conditions, including cancer. According to Fox News Health, “Governments in the EU do not regulate tattoo ink as they do drugs and food, and many shops operate without government regulation.” Both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and ECHA have found tattoo inks – especially colored red, blue, green, and black – to cause the following adverse effects:

  1. Allergic reactions
  2. Infection
  3. Scarring
  4. Other skin conditions
  5. MRI complications

The ECHA also pointed to a possible link to increased cancer rates that will be investigated further.

Tattoo Ink Regulation in the United States

In the United States, the FDA reviews but does not regulate which chemicals are used in tattoo ink and other cosmetic products. The website states, “FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin.” Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printer ink or automobile paint. According to Chemist Paul Howard, Ph.D., who has been conducting research at the FDA’s Arkansas-based National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), “There have been no systematic studies of the safety of tattoo inks.”

Health agencies in both the EU and USA continue to research tattoo ink chemicals and their effects on the human body.


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