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Call for evidence on hazardous substances used in tattoo inks or permanent make-up


ECHA has launched a call for evidence to gather information on substances used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. The European Commission asked ECHA to assess if an EU-wide restriction would be needed to have all tattoo inks safe in the EU market. This assessment is done in cooperation with the Danish, German, Italian and Norwegian authorities. 

Helsinki, 31 August 2016 – Tattoo inks and permanent make-up may contain hazardous substances – for example, substances that cause skin allergies, cancer or other adverse effects on health. Thanks to the EU cosmetics legislation many hazardous substances are not allowed to be used in cosmetic products but they are not prevented in tattoo inks or permanent make up. The European Commission has, therefore, asked ECHA to assess the risks to human health of the use of these substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up and to examine the need for an EU-wide restriction.

ECHA calls for information on tonnages, release and exposure of hazardous substances used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up, and also the costs of tattoo and make-up inks and of permanent make-up and tattooing services. ECHA is also interested in issues related to enforceability of possible restrictions and alternatives to the hazardous substances used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up, their hazard or risk profile, technical characteristics and costs. The information requested will be additional to that published in the recent reports by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Joint Research Centre.

This call for evidence is targeted to companies, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and professional users of tattoo inks and permanent make-up. Trade associations, consumer organisations, Member State authorities and other members of the public holding relevant information are also invited to contribute.

The call ends on 23 November 2016.

Together with the competent authorities of Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Norway, ECHA will analyse the risks to human health, the availability of alternatives and the socio-economic impacts of a possible restriction of the substances used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. The authorities will then conclude whether certain substances in these products should be restricted.

For clarity, the possible restriction would not concern tattooing or tattooing services as such, but to ensure that all tattoo and permanent make-up inks placed on the EU market are safe. 

Individuals with concerns or questions related to tattoos and permanent make-up or tattooing can consult their healthcare providers.