Tattoos: the toxicity of inks in question

DECRYPTION – At this stage, the main proven risks associated with getting a tattoo are allergic reactions and viral or bacterial infections.

At the beginning of January, the European authorities banned a series of chemical substances contained in certain tattoo inks, on the grounds of their danger to health (mainly mercury, nickel, chromium, cobalt, methanol and certain red, orange, yellow, purple dyes and blue). The National Union of Tattoo Artists was indignant at the decision, arguing that there was a lack of evidence of this harmfulness and deploring the fact that almost all of the shades used by their profession were thus withdrawn.

Preventive measures concerning the safety of tattoo inks are not new, as evidenced by French regulations which, as of 2013, prohibited their containing certain substances, including potentially carcinogenic aromatic amines. The European initiative is even more restrictive.


If the tattoo remains largely recreational, the subject is not insignificant, if only by the large number of people concerned: no less than 12% of…

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