EU's chems regulator proposes to restrict hazardous substances in tattoo inks

Author: Morgan Condon


LONDON (ICIS)--The EU is to propose new regulations restricting the use of hazardous substances in tattoo inks, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said on Thursday.

The EU's chemicals regulator said the list of substances, which includes chemicals like methanol, could become banned from being used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up products.

This comes after an announcement from the ECHA’s socio-economic analysis committee (SEAC) backing the proposal put forward by the organisation alongside authorities from Denmark, Italy, Norway and Germany.

Initial proposals were put forward by ECHA in 2017 and were subject to a public consultation between February and June 2018.

Suppliers of these products may have to reformulate their inks within 12 months of the restriction being imposed.

SEAC backed the proposal to control risks, but was though not to have a significant economic impact on the supply chains.

The proposal looks to prohibit the use of chemicals with carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) properties in tattoo ink.

Substances that are found to be skin sensitisers or irritants or that are corrosive or damaging to the eye would also come under the scope of the proposed regulation.

The conclusion of SEAC and the ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) will be put forward to the European Commission, the EU's executive body.

If the measure is adopted by EU chemicals regulation Reach, it will enter into  effect one year after it is published in the EU Official Journal.

“The aim of the restriction is to make inks for tattooing safer and protect people from serious health problems or effects," said ECHA.

“SEAC concluded that the proposed restriction is the most appropriate measure to control the risks posed by these substances, and that it is proportionate to the risk because it will bring significant benefits to society (ie avoided adverse skin effects and other health impacts) while not imposing significant economic impacts on supply chains.”

The European Society of Tattoo and Pigment Research (ESTP Research) had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Picture source: Niall Swan/ICIS