EU to Examine Hazardous Substances Used in Tattoo Inks, Permanent Makeup

Published September 7, 2016

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is calling for evidence on hazardous substances used in tattoo inks and permanent makeup. While EU cosmetics legislation prohibits the use of hazardous substances in cosmetic products, the agency notes that the use of these substances, which may cause skin allergies, cancer, or other adverse health effects, is not prevented in tattoo inks or permanent makeup. Under the direction of the European Commission, ECHA is assessing the human health risks related to the use of hazardous substances in tattoo inks and permanent makeup and evaluating the need for an EU-wide restriction. The agency will also analyze the availability of alternatives to hazardous substances used in these products and the potential socio-economic impact of restricting certain substances. 

ECHA calls on companies, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, and professional users of tattoo inks and permanent makeup to provide information on tonnages, release, and exposure of hazardous substances used in tattoo inks and permanent makeup, and the costs of tattoo and makeup inks and permanent makeup and tattooing services. The agency further requests information on alternatives to hazardous substances used in tattoo inks and permanent makeup, their hazard or risk profile, technical characteristics and costs. 

According to ECHA’s press release, restrictions that might arise from this assessment would aim to ensure that all tattoo and permanent makeup inks on the market in the EU are safe but “would not concern tattooing or tattooing services as such.”

For more information, see ECHA’s website​. ​​​