An EU ban on tattoo inks and permanent makeup containing chemicals that can cause cancer or other health risks went into effect on Tuesday, officials said. The ban covers hazardous substances such as certain azo dyes, carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol.
“The restriction covers carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins, chemicals banned in cosmetics, skin sensitizers, skin and eye irritants, metal impurities, aromatic amines and certain pigments,” the European Commission said.
“Protecting the public health of European citizens is our main concern, and the dangerous chemicals in tattoo inks can be such a concern,” commission spokesperson Sonya Gospodinova told reporters.
Seven EU countries have already implemented the ban nationally.
The directive – approved by all EU member states a year and a half ago – now makes it applicable across the bloc of 27 countries, including for imports from outside the EU European.
A spokesperson for the committee, Eric Mamer, said there were safer substitute chemicals that could be used in most pigments and colorings.
“Where there is currently no substitute, there is a grace period so that the industry has time to find alternative solutions,” he said.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECA) said tattoo inks and permanent makeup contain chemical mixtures that can be dangerous, causing “skin allergies and other more serious health effects, such as mutations. genetics and cancer ”.
He noted that ink pigments can seep into the body from the skin, affecting organs such as lymph nodes and the liver – and that laser treatment to remove tattoos can break down the substances. into smaller particles that circulate in the body.
“As the chemicals used in tattoo inks and permanent makeup can stay in the body for a lifetime, there is also a possibility of long-term exposure to potentially harmful ingredients,” he said.
The two main substances for which no substitutes are currently available are the synthetic beta-copper phthalocyanine dyes commonly used in tattoos: Pigment Blue 15: 3 and Pigment Green 7.
German health officials say both of these substances are feared to cause bladder cancer, although the data is inconclusive.
The ECA said retailers and consumers are unlikely to see price increases as a result of the EU ban.
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