The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) warns that toxic ink could cause skin problems that last for years, increasing the risk of cancer. The most toxic was red ink, followed by green, black, and blue inks.

They warned that red ink is the most common cause of allergic reactions. In the past, red ink commonly contained a known carcinogen — mercury sulfide. According to researchers:

The most severe concerns are allergies caused by the substances in the inks and possible carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxic effects.”

Check out this case report from September 2014.

The 48 year-old victim developed aggressive skin cancer only in the red areas of his tattoo. He was tattooed with “Dark Red” organic non-toxic ink from Eternal Ink.

Removing his mutated skin was challenging because the cancer spread so rapidly. He had to undergo painful debridement and a skin graft to transplant healthy skin from his arm onto his thigh.


There are no FDA-approved pigments for injection into the skin. That is why many pigments in tattoo ink are industrial-grade chemicals that are also used in printer toner and car paint.

Another risk is bacteria contamination, which can cause allergic reactions, scarring, itching, bumps, and disfigurement — sometimes immediately, other times years after getting the tattoo.

In the United States, about 25% of the population aged 18-50 years old has a tattoo. But with lax regulation and an influx of cheap Chinese tattoo inks sold online, it is a good idea to “think before you ink.”

Source: The Sun

Posted by Daily Hornet

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