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EU chemicals agency proposes safer tattooing

14 December 2020, 23:10 CET
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EU chemicals agency proposes safer tattooing

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(HELSINKI) - The EU's Chemicals Agency proposed Monday to restrict hazardous substances used in tattooing inks and permanent make up, with a view to making tattooing safer rather than banning tattoos or tattooing colours.

The proposal includes carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances, skin sensitisers or irritants, substances corrosive or damaging to the eye, metals as well as other substances already regulated under the Cosmetic Products Regulation.

Tattoos are a popular form of body art – 12 % of Europeans have them. They are made by injecting coloured inks under the skin to leave a permanent design.

The health risks of using dirty needles to inject the inks have already been under scrutiny for some time, but there may be chemical-related concerns to consider, too.

Tattoo inks, as well as permanent make-up such as eyeliner inks, are a mix of several chemicals. As these chemicals may stay in the body for life, there is also the possibility for long-term exposure to the potentially harmful ingredients in tattoos and permanent make-up products.

These chemicals may cause adverse health effects, but little is known about the consequences of their use.

European Chemicals Agency


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