Coloured ink for tattoos to be banned in EU from 4 January; all you need to know

The EU has said that the new rules will help protect people from a range of health problems including skin irritations to cancer

FP Trending January 03, 2022 15:03:21 IST
Coloured ink for tattoos to be banned in EU from 4 January; all you need to know

Use of coloured ink for tattooing to be prohibited in EU from 4 January. Wikimedia Commons/Ari Helminen

Coloured tattoo inks are set to be banned in the European Union from 4 January, 2022. Around 4,000 chemical substances used in the production of permanent make-up and coloured inks, will be outlawed from 4 January, according to The Independent.  

The rules also include “maximum concentration limits established either for groups of substances or for individual substances such as certain azodyes and carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol”, according to the bloc. The move comes into force as the EU seeks to protect its citizens from potentially harmful chemicals.

Any product that contains the newly controlled substances in greater concentrations than prescribed, will be banned from sale by the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation.

The new rules were approved a year ago, with the EU giving a 12-month transition period to tattoo artists and the make-up industry to alter its recipes.  Two shades, Pigment Green 7 and Pigment Blue 15:3 were given a 24-month grace period since they were difficult to obtain.

The bloc said that the new rules will help protect customers from a range of health problems from skin irritations to cancer. Some of the substances were already banned in products to be applied on top of the skin, according to The Metro.

The EU stated that the aim of the new rules is to make the colouring inks used in tattoos “safer”. Scientists have not yet come to a consensus about direct links between cancer and tattoo ink.

However, according to news reports, tattoo artists claim that suppliers have been slow to make any progress on alternative substances, making it difficult for customers to get coloured tattoos. Some have had to turn away customers since they are unable to predict when they will get good replacements for coloured inks.

According to The Independent, many tattoo artists are complaining that the new rules will dampen business. A petition has also been launched to “save” Pigment Green 7 and Pigment Blue 15:3. The petition has over 1,75,000 signatures till date.

Tattoo artists are also worried that the new rules will lead to a “lasting negative impact on the economic competitiveness of European tattooists and pigmenters vis-à-vis providers outside the EU”, and could seriously jeopardise the profession.

There are also concerns that many people would turn to “backyard artists”, who offer tattoos illegally, to fulfil their desire for coloured tattoos.

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