EU tattoo ink ban: will there be no more colors from January?

EU bans tattoo inks
Is tattooing still possible from January?

From January 2022, tattooing colored tattoos will be much more difficult.

© Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

The discussion about potentially dangerous ingredients in tattoo inks has been circling the scene for years. It is now clear: Due to a change in the EU chemicals regulation REACH, around a third of the colors will be banned from January 2022.

Tattoo-REACH is a regulation of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of the European Union. It was issued to protect people and the environment from the risks that chemicals can pose.

The EU’s Tattoo REACH regulation restricts the use of tattoo inks from January

REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. The regulation applies throughout the European Union and therefore also throughout Germany.

According to the regulation, some tattoo inks are also such a risk, as they are said to contain “dangerous substances”. For example, they could trigger skin allergies or lead to genetic mutations and cancer, according to ECHA’s explanation of the ban.

From January around two thirds fewer colors should be allowed

As early as January 4, 2022, around two thirds fewer colors should be permitted. With tattooists, this decision meets with criticism and uncertainty. During the lockdown phases, tattoo studios were among the facilities that were usually only allowed to reopen at the very end – many of them lost their existential basis as a result.

The colors of the most popular tattoo suppliers: inside are for the most part already provided with the following note: “Warning: The sale (and use) of these colors is prohibited within the European Union from January 4, 2022, as they do not comply with the REACH directive correspond.”

The manufacturers of tattoo inks are currently unable to offer a replacement

According to the current status, with the regulation from January, almost all tattoo inks currently on offer will no longer be available. The manufacturers are currently unable to offer a replacement. That means: From next year on it could happen that at least for a certain period of time in the EU hardly any tattoos can be done unless they are black and white. This puts many tattoo artists in front of an uncertain future.

It is reasonable to assume that some tattoo fans will then go to other EU countries to be tattooed with color as usual. Tattoo artists from all over the EU have come together to oppose the EU regulation with a petition under the motto “Save the Pigments”.

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