According to the BBC, from January 4, 2022, tattoo artists in the European Union will not be allowed to use coloured tattoo inks unless a safer alternative (chemical composition) is found.
The reason is that last January, 4,000 chemicals commonly used in coloured tattoo inks were outlawed. Mainly, the registration, evaluation and authorization of ink are restricted.
Regulators say the chemicals in the inks — some of which have been banned — could cause cancer or genetic mutations. But regulators insist that our aim is not to ban tattoos, but to make the pigments used in tattoos and permanent makeup safer.
Ink suppliers have been trying to find agency-approved different chemicals to make the same colored inks. But tattoo artists say vendors have been slow, making it harder for many to get coloured tattoos.
The decision to ink orders was opposed by tattoo artists and their clients.
Belgian tattoo artist Marjorie Petit said she had to turn away clients who had colored arm tattoos because she didn’t know when a safe alternative would be available.
Tattoo artists say a pan-European ban on thousands of chemicals used in colouring inks could harm their industry. Tattoo artists complain that changing inks is not easy and that many customers are lost.
After two cold winters in the tattoo industry caused by the pandemic, many tattoo parlors don’t think they have enough time to adjust. Under the circumstance of the big blockade at every turn, the new crown virus has seriously affected the work of foreign tattooists.
Whenever it comes into force, the ban will have a lasting negative impact on the economic competitiveness of European tattooists and suppliers outside the EU, and will seriously jeopardize the very existence of the profession.
There are also concerns that people who want coloured tattoos will end up turning to private backyard tattooists who offer them illegally.
The updated EU chemicals regulation, known as Reach.
REACH aims to better protect human health and the environment from the risks that chemicals may pose, while increasing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods of substance hazard assessment to reduce the number of tests on animals.
In principle, REACH applies to all chemical substances; not only to industrial processes, but also to our everyday lives, such as cleaning products, paints and items such as clothing, furniture and appliances. Therefore, the regulation affects most companies across the EU.
The ban covers 4,000 chemicals, including isopropyl alcohol, a common ingredient in tattoo inks.
The European Chemical Agency, which helped draft the new legislation, said the inks could be dangerous, causing skin irritation and other more serious health effects, such as genetic mutations and cancer.
Belgian tattooist Filippo Di Caprio says that if you want to prove that ink is dangerous: I haven’t seen anyone develop severe allergies after getting a tattoo.
The Cancer Council of Australia said while they had not encountered any cases of cancer directly attributed to tattoos, tattoo inks were known to contain carcinogens or carcinogens. They point to a 2016 analysis of 49 tattoo inks that found carcinogens in addition to other dangerous ingredients such as barium, copper, mercury, amines and various colorants.
To achieve the permanent effect of the coloration, the tattoo ink is injected into the dermis – the deep layer of the skin – and remains there for a lifetime. Over time, macrophages take up the pigment and may deliver it into the lymphatic system and lymph nodes.
This means that other tissues in the body may be exposed to potential carcinogens in tattoo ink, and some of the carcinogens found in tattoo ink have been linked to cancer elsewhere in the body, such as the liver or bladder.
In fact, the ban prohibits the use of most colors used by tattoo artists. It doesn’t just affect all your teal tones. It also affects purples, some browns, many mixed shades, skin tones, etc… including 65-70% of the colors used by tattoo artists, says internationally acclaimed tattoo artist Mario Barth.
Given the lack of scientific consensus on how dangerous tattoo inks are, it is difficult to gauge the relevance of the EU ban.
As such, many tattoo artists and their clients believe that individuals should have the right to decide whether they want to take a risk — just like people do with tobacco and alcohol consumption.