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“New Study Reveals Potential Risks of Tattoo Pigments Reaching Lymph Nodes”

New Study Reveals Potential Risks of Tattoo Pigments Reaching Lymph Nodes

Scientists from Germany and the European Synchrotron in Grenoble France have found that the pigments used in tattoos travel inside the body in micro and nanoparticle forms and reach the lymph nodes, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. It is the first time that analytical evidence has been found of the transport of various organic and inorganic pigments and toxic element impurities as well as in-depth characterization of the pigments ex vivo in tattooed tissues. The study used two ESRF beamlines, ID21 and ID16B, to investigate the location of titanium dioxide in the tissue. The study found a broad range of particles with up to several micromètres in size were found in human skin, only smaller nanoparticles were transported to the lymph nodes. This may lead to chronic enlargement of the lymph node and lifelong exposure.

The study has raised concerns about the safety of tattoo inks, which are currently unregulated in the United States. The European Union has recently implemented a ban on thousands of hazardous chemicals found in tattoo inks and permanent makeup as a result of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program. The program found that chemicals in some colored tattoo inks, including pigments Blue 15:3 and Green 7, could cause cancer or genetic mutations.

Composition of tattoo inks:

Most tattoo inks contain organic pigments, but also include preservatives and contaminants like nickel, chromium, manganese or cobalt. Besides carbon black, the second most common ingredient used in tattoo inks is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment usually applied to create certain shades when mixed with colorants. TiO2 is also commonly used in food additives, sun screens, and paints. Delayed healing, along with skin elevation and itching, are often associated with white tattoos, and by consequence with the use of TiO2.

The authors recommend that people should be more careful when choosing a tattoo parlor and consider the chemical composition of the inks used, an artist knowledgeable in ink manufacturing is helpful, as well as to be aware of the potential risks associated with tattooing.

Next steps for tattoo science,

The next steps in this research will be to understand the potential health risks associated with these particles and their long-term effects on the body. The team hopes that this study will lead to more regulations and guidelines for the tattoo industry to ensure the safety of consumers.

In conclusion, while tattooing has been a popular form of self-expression for centuries, this new research raises concerns about the safety of tattoo inks and their potential to cause harm to the body. It’s important for individuals to be aware of the potential risks and to speak with a healthcare professional before getting a tattoo. It’s also important for the tattoo industry to have more regulations and guidelines in place to ensure the safety of consumers.