What’s in a tattoo?
Ink in tattoos may contain harmful chemicals
More people are getting inked than ever before. About 3 in 10 U.S. adults have a tattoo, up from 1 in 5 just four years ago, according to The Harris Poll. But are they safe? A new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre identified carcinogens such as arsenic as well as heavy metals, organic compounds and bacteria in tattoo inks. Those ingredients may be harmful to health, even years after the ink has dried. Don’t avoid getting a tattoo if you really want one—just find a clean, reputable parlor and keep these tips in mind:
• Choose a licensed tattoo artist a reputable shop. (A list of permitted facilities in Butte County can be found at tinyurl.com/buttebodyart.)
• Know where the ink comes from. Make sure your tattoo artist can contact the manufacturer in case of side effects.
• Watch the tattooed area closely and talk to a physician if you think you might have a reaction or infection.