Chemicals: new EU rules for safer ink tattoos across the EU

As of today, a restriction on hazardous chemicals contained in mixtures for tattoo inks and permanent make-up becomes applicable in the EU. The restriction covers carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances, chemicals prohibited in cosmetics, skin sensitisers, skin and eye irritants, metal impurities, aromatic amines and some pigments. While some Member States already had national legislation in place to restrict hazardous chemicals in tattoo inks, the new rules at EU level were adopted to equally protect people across the EU, irrespective of the country where they get tattooed and whether the ink is manufactured in the EU or not. For the substances which are prohibited as of today, there are safe alternatives on the market. Statistics show that 12% of Europeans are estimated to be tattooed, including teenagers. The Commission adopted the restriction in December 2020 following studies showing evidence of allergies and skin problems due to tattoos, responding to a request from Member States and based on scientific and socio-economic impact assessments done by European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). While the restriction becomes effective today, the ban on Pigment Blue 15 and Pigment Green 7 will only become applicable as of 4 January 2023. An additional one-year derogation was granted to allow businesses more time to find safe alternatives for these two pigments.