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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News announcement14 December 20201 min read

Chemicals: EU takes action for safer tattooing inks and permanent make-up

The Commission is taking an important step to protect EU citizens' health from hazardous chemicals contained in mixtures for tattoo inks and permanent make-up.

With a new restriction adopted today under the EU chemical legislation, we aim to ensure that EU citizens are equally protected, irrespective of the country where they get tattooed and whether the ink is manufactured in the EU or not. Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The Commission works hard on ensuring the safety of chemicals used in everyday products and is today restricting the use of dangerous substances in inks used for tattooing. Some EU Member States have already done that, but with this restriction we aim to harmonise these measures at EU level and to improve citizens' protection. This restriction is the result of a good cooperation between the Commission, the European Chemicals Agency and the Member States with the involvement of the industry and NGOs.” Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries,

Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “The health and well-being of our citizens is our priority. In addition to allergies and skin problems, toxic chemicals found in tattoo inks can cause other adverse health effects, such as cancer. Tattooing is increasingly popular in Europe. This is why it is urgent that we regulate those chemicals now.” 

The new rules include maximum concentration limits established either for groups of substances or for individual substances such as certain azodyes and carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol. So far, EU Member States have different national rules on restriction of chemicals in tattoo inks. With the restriction adopted today, there will be harmonised rules across the EU. The new rules will become applicable after a transition phase of 12 months. From that point in time, tattoo inks and permanent make-up that contain the substances listed in quantities exceeding the specified limits may no longer be placed on the market and used in the EU.

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Publication date
14 December 2020