ECHA assess tattoo ink safety

25 February 2020

Article: 54/810

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has assessed the safety pigments used in tattoo inks at the request of the European Commission. In January 2020, three EU member states, Norway and the ECHA proposed to restrict over 4,000 substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. Some of these substances are already restricted under the EU’s cosmetic products regulation. They are not allowed to be used on the skin and therefore are not safe to be injected under the skin.

Other materials that would be restricted under ECHA’s proposal include carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances, skin sensitisers or irritants, substances corrosive or damaging to the eye, metals, and other substances already regulated in cosmetic products.

With regards to Pigment Blue 15 and Pigment Green 7, one option ECHA has recommended is that a two-year transitional period could be granted before banning them. This would allow ink formulators to find safer alternatives while ensuring the availability of green and blue tattoo inks in the meantime.

ECHA’s restriction proposal has been subject to a consultation and scrutiny by its scientific committees. The European Commission is presenting a draft restriction for discussion with EU member states in February.

Source: ECHA, 20 February 2020