Do you manufacture, import or use tattoo inks?

If so the Chemical Helpdesk of the Health and Safety Authority would like to bring the following information to your attention.  There is currently a proposal being considered by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to introduce a restriction on hazardous substances in tattoo inks.  

 The proposal aims to restrict the intentional use of certain substances in tattoo inks or to impose concentration limits for selected substances. These substances include those with harmonised classifications as carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic, skin sensitising/corrosive/irritant, eye damaging/irritant as well as other substances prohibited in cosmetic products  and selected impurities. A number of colourants, which do not currently have alternatives or where information is insufficient to demonstrate a risk are exempted. 

 The health effects reported after tattooing are mainly skin problems, 68% of persons being tattooed reported skin issues in one survey.  However, the pigments in tattoo inks are known to migrate from the tattoo site. Animal and human studies have shown that colourant particles migrate to regional lymph nodes. Animal studies have shown colourant particles are transported to the liver, suggesting their distribution via the blood system and potentially exposing internal organs to substances with hazardous properties.


If you are unsure, please ask your suppliers as This may have implications for your business in the future. Read more about this ban and how it could affect your business in the background document. Submissions can be made to the European Chemicals Agency before 20th June 2018, but preferably before February 16th 2018.  Details are provided in the background document.


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