ECHA: EU investigates permanent cosmetics and tattoo inks
According to a report issued by the JRC published in 2016, it is estimated that 12% of European citizens have a tattoo. This figure raises to a 24% in the USA, which shows the strength this trend has, particularly in young adults. These data impelled the European Commission to promote research through ECHA’s scientific committees.
Tattoos and permanent make-up legislation:
Tattoo inks are made by a wide variety of colorants and additives. To ensure durability and prevent the chemicals to fade, these must be placed below the epidermis with a needle.
Despite that, there is no specific EU legislation for tattoos or permanent make-up that needs to be respected. GPSD would cover this kind of products, as well as REACH and CLP.
The lack of a specific European legislation gives each member state the mandate to control these practices internally, which only 7 countries regulate – Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and Sweden – with a National law on tattoo inks.
Nevertheless, ECHA is trying to harmonize the legislation and create a common standard for the whole Union.
The ECHA is trying to determine the possible dangers of use of these products, as well as to prevent them. The injection of these chemicals, commonly of a long-term exposure, can lead to allergies, unexpected changes in the dermis, mutagenicity, cancer or reproductive problems.
The restriction of potentially problematic chemicals must be balanced out with the effect of its ban in the industry, considering the existence of a viable alternative in terms of safety and price.
Obligations of manufacturers under REACH regulation:
Formulators need to identify the ingredients to manufacturers and importers.
If the ingredients are considered hazardous substances or mixtures, the manufacturer must provide a safety data sheet on the product to the purchaser, including a guidance for use and disposal and its properties, among several other characteristics.
Manufacturers of individual substances of 1 tonne or more per year must comply with REACH. In addition, they must ensure compliancy with the labelling requirements of the CLP for hazardous substances.
Victor Pastor Martin