The European Union’s recent ban on tattoo ink and permanent make-up has threatened tattooists who feel that the recent measures will affect the industry. Tattooists also highlighted that the industry is still reeling from the effects of Covid-19, which directly impacted the industry, and the EU’s regulation will affect revival further, according to a report by the BBC.
A tattoo artist from Germany Sebastian Makowski complained that the EU’s ban is akin to a partial ban. Makowski also told the BBC that replacement inks are hard to acquire which will further impact their business.
The EU on Tuesday banned chemicals and substances such as certain azo dyes, carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol. The European Commission said that these chemicals pose a threat to health as it can cause allergies and serious health issues and even genetic mutations.
“The protection of public health of European citizens is our primary concern, and hazardous chemicals in tattoo ink can represent such a concern,” EU official Sonya Gospodinova was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. The European Chemicals Agency (ECA) said that ink pigments possess the ability to seep into the body from the skin, and can affect lymph nodes and the liver. It highlighted that laser treatment used to erase tattoos can further fragment the substances into smaller particles which can circulate inside the body.
“Chemicals used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up may stay in the body for life, there is also the possibility for long-term exposure to the potentially harmful ingredients,” the ECA said. Tattooists, however, continue to challenge the EU’s directions citing inconclusive data. “I don’t see anyone coming up with serious allergies after a tattoo,” Belgian tattooist Filippo Di Caprio told BBC. Dermatologists and researchers disagree, as German researcher Wolfgang Bäumler told German news agency Die Zeit that upon conducting a survey on 3,400 people he found that two-third of those surveyed experienced reactions immediately after a tattoo.