E.U. Colored Ink Ban leaves tattoo artists with a grayer palette

NOW: E.U. Colored Ink Ban leaves tattoo artists with a grayer palette

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- When you leave the tattoo shop with a new tattoo, you probably walk out happy and hopefully with no regrets. According to the European Union though – you are likely walking out with a higher risk for cancer.

The European Union placed a ban on two colored ink pigments back in January of this year. While the restrictions do not apply here in the U.S., it is still likely to affect the tattoo market here as people are expected to travel overseas for their desired tattoo colors.

The European union remains adamant that their goal is not to permanently ban tattoos; instead they want to reduce the risks associated with the practice.

Many chemicals used in tattoos have been determined to be carcinogenic, meaning they carry risks associated with cancer. The two worst culprits seem to be blue fifteen and green seven -- these are the two pigments the E.U. is cracking down on.

While it may seem like only a couple of colors are being pulled, these two pigments actually help create a wide range of other colors that make up a tattoo artist’s palette. This ban will make it hard to find different shades of purple, brown or mixed tones.

A Compliance and Education Manager who worked under the E.U., Selina Medina, worked to find inks compliant with European standards. She believes there is more research needed to fully support this ban, stating, “depending on what you’re consuming, or what you’re interacting with, anything can be carcinogenic so that’s pretty important to remember.”

While those in the industry, like Selina, have hope that this ban will change, for now ink suppliers have until January of 2023 to find new and approved chemicals for these two popular ink colors.


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