While the rebellious reputation of tattooed persons is decreasing, the risk factor of getting inked isn’t. Like current studies on the harmful effects of Bisphenol A, a chemical often found on paper goods, scientists are investigating the potentially dangerous toxins found in tattoo ink. Tattoo ink not only sits in the skin, but is absorbed by it; anything tainting the ink can then be carried into the bloodstream, where poisoned dye can disrupt proper organ function.
Danish dermatology journal Contact Dermatitis published a study in July that revealed the presence of dibutyl phthalate in tattoo ink, a substance known to cause skin reactions. Phthalates can imitate hormones in the body, and pregnant women especially are advised to stay away from them.
However, phthalates may not be as risky as other substances used in black and colored ink, including metals such as lead, nickel and titanium. Known skin carcinogen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) has also been spotted in black dye.
While the Food and Drug Administration has the power to regulate dyes and inks, not enough evidence has been found for them to take action. Scientists attribute the lack of long term studies to the varying lifestyles of people with tattoos, primarily social communities in which smoking or heavy drinking are prevalent and can also contribute to cancer or disease. Rock on.