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ECHA has assessed how to make tattoo inks safer


At the request of the European Commission, ECHA has assessed the safety of pigments used in tattoo inks. ECHA is not proposing to ban tattoos, nor all green and blue tattooing colours. The Agency submitted its scientific opinions to the Commission in June 2019, and the Commission will discuss it with Member States in February.

Helsinki, 21 January 2020 – Together with three Member States and Norway, ECHA has 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 and are not allowed to be used on the skin. They are also, therefore, not safe to be injected under the skin either.

ECHA’s proposal includes carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances, skin sensitisers or irritants, substances corrosive or damaging to the eye, metals as well as 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 scrutinised by its scientific committees. The Commission is presenting a draft restriction for discussion with EU Member States in February.