Tattoo ink: poison inside?

A tattoo may be art. It may be an expression of one's character, individuality, attitude and philosophy. It may be a reminder or a remembrance.

It may also be unhealthy.

A recent report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre should cause one to reconsider getting inked. It raised questions about the safety of tattoo inks used in Europe, most of which are imported from the United States. The inks have been found to contain hazardous chemicals, including those that cause cancer.

There was more. The report also identified heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and nickel. Preservatives, organic compounds, bacteria, and other potentially harmful substances were in the inks as well.

Soon after this report was released, the European Chemicals Agency looked further into tattoo ink safety. Here is what it found.

“Tattoo inks and permanent make up may contain hazardous substances -- for example, substances that cause cancer, genetic mutations, toxic effects on reproduction, allergies or other adverse effects on health.”

Tattoo ink has minimal regulation. There is no way to know for sure if the ink is even sterile. Getting a tattoo amounts to putting an unknown substance inside your body, with several significant health risks.

Healthy skinTattoo ink