Chemicals: EU takes action for safer tattooing inks and permanent make-up

The European Commission has taking an important new step to protect EU citizens' health from hazardous chemicals contained in mixtures for tattoo inks and permanent make-up.

With a new restriction adopted in December under the EU chemical legislation, the European Commission aims to ensure that EU citizens are equally protected, no matter the country where they get  tattooed and whether the ink is manufactured in the EU or not. Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The Commission works hard on ensuring the safety of chemicals used in everyday products and is today restricting the use of dangerous substances in inks used for tattooing. Some EU Member States have already done that, but with this restriction we aim to harmonize these measures at EU level and to improve citizens' protection. This restriction is the result of a good cooperation between the Commission, the European Chemicals Agency and the Member States with the involvement of the industry and NGOs.” Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries,

Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “The health and well-being of our citizens is our priority. In addition to allergies and skin problems, toxic chemicals found in tattoo inks can cause other adverse health effects, such as cancer. Tattooing is increasingly popular in Europe. This is why it is urgent that we regulate those chemicals now.”

The new and improved rules include maximum concentration limits established either for groups of substances or for individual substances such as certain azodyes and carcinogenic aromatic amines, poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol. So far, EU Member States have different national rules on restriction of chemicals in tattoo inks. With the restriction adopted today, there will be harmonized rules across the EU. The new rules will become applicable in December 2021, after a transition phase of 12 months. From that point in time, tattoo inks and permanent make-up that contain the substances listed in quantities exceeding the specified limits may no longer be placed on the market and used in the EU.

Photographer: Kristian Angelo | Source: Unsplash

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