Tattoo Ink May be Harmful
BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 17 â€” Fans of tattooing are putting poisonous chemicals into their skin because of widespread ignorance about the substances used in tattooing dyes, the European Commission warned Thursday.
â€œWOULD YOU INJECT car paint into your skin?,â€ the Commission asked in a statement accompanying its report on the health risks of tattooing and body-piercing.
It said most chemicals used in tattoos were industrial pigments originally used for other purposes, such as automobile paints or writing inks, and there was little or no safety data to support their use in tattoos.
In addition, laws demanding tattoo artists use gloves and sterile needles did not include rules about the dyes, meaning they could be impure and dirty without breaking the law.
The report said that as well as the risk of catching diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, or bacterial infections from dirty needles, tattooing could cause skin cancer, psoriasis, toxic shock syndrome or even behavioral changes. It said two deaths caused by tattooing or body-piercing had been reported in Europe since the end of 2002.
The research published Thursday was the first part of a drive to make the practices safer, a spokesman said.
Having identified the potential health risks, the Commission plans to find out more about the tattooing and body-piercing industries before recommending stronger safety laws.
â€œIf people want to tattoo or pierce their bodies, we would like them to do so with proper health and safety guarantees,â€ European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said.
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