BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WROC) — An ongoing study at Binghamton University is revealing that sometimes, the labels on commercial tattooing ink in the U.S. do not match what is actually inside the bottle.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry John Swierk — a researcher with the study — said that so far, a few of these errors have been found.
“In some cases some pigments were missing, but in other cases we found pigments that were listed on the bottle are not what is actually in the bottle,” he said. “We found certain instances where some particle sizes were a little bit too small for comfort.”
Swierk said the research started after the group looked at how light causes tattoos to fade and took notice that outside of the European Union, no one from the U.S. has looked into this for more than a decade.
“We thought maybe we should check into this to see how widespread the problem is,” he explained.
He shared that once they took a deeper look at things, there were a couple areas of concern. “There are some pigments where there are concerns about them being potential carcinogens, potential cancer causing agents. some of these pigments have been banned in the EU or on their way to being banned in the EU.”
He added that when looking at particle sizes in tattoo inks, the artists should aim at being above the 100 nanometer threshold as a general safe size limit.
“We found that about half of the inks that we’ve looked at that the particle sizes are below that 100 nanometer threshold,” Swierk said.
He said while they don’t know a lot about tattoos and all the potential health problems with them, there are things that tattoo artists can do to minimize any risk. He encouraged proper sanitation while getting a tattoo, and aftercare for the consumer.