Is Tattoo Ink Harmful?


As I was sitting here trying to think of a topic to write about I came across a guy with a very big tattoo on his arm.  I think tattoos are cool and have one myself.  Seeing this males tattoo made me think of when I first got mine.  I asked my parents the night before if I could get a tattoo; they were not very happy and even told me that the ink used in tattoos can harm my body.  Not listening to them, I got one anyway.  After looking back, I sometimes wonder if tattoos are harmful to the body, but nothing extreme has been discovered yet.  I decided to research the idea of tattoo ink being harmful to our bodies.

Tattoos are becoming more common in today's world.  People get tattoos as a way to express themselves.  This idea of tattooing a part of the body became popular in the 90's and has taken off since then.  Many are unclear on what chemicals are in the ink which gives us this beautiful body art.    The ink is made with an unknown substance of metallic salts, organic dyes, and the plastic that the ink is found in.  About 40 percent of the pigments are not approved to use on the skin, but yet they are used in the ink to create tattoos.  Tattoos are made by penetrating a needle with this ink deep into the skin.  These chemicals are in our bodies now.  Due to lack of science, the FDA does not officially monitor tattoo ink.  This means that tattoos can have any harmful chemical in them, even ones that can cause mutations, cancer, or defects.  After researching many articles state that glow in the dark tattoos are not the best choice.  The pigments can turn out to be radioactive.  A study in July showed that some of the chemicals like phthalates can cause serious long term effects which is found in the ink.  The tattoo ink can then move to people's lymph nodes.  Although, most risks that are associated with tattoos are infections, allergic reactions, and a few other complications. Each state is responsible for deciding which chemicals can be used in the ink and which cannot be.  

Many people have side effects from getting tattoos, but are the side effects from the ink used in the tattoo or from being allergic to it? Some of the chemicals that are used are similar to ones used in car paint and printing.  It does not seem safe to be putting these chemicals into our bodies.  Another article says that it is not the tattoo that is the problem, but it is the process of getting one and having it heal correctly.  If the equipment has not been sterilized then problems will occur.   

So, is tattoo ink dangerous?  The truth is, without more studies it is hard to tell.  The few times that it was proven that the chemicals reacted negatively on people could be due to chance or another third variable like that person being allergic to tattoos.  It does not mean that everyone will have the same reaction.  Then again, the lack of good scientific studies on the subject could mean that more harm is actually being done than we would think.  When science is not being done correctly, then it can kill people.  For example, the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, blood letting, Thalidomide, brain stents, and all the others we discussed in class led to more people dying than needed due to lack of science.  So, it is up to you on whether these possible risks would be worth getting a tattoo. 




I have a tattoo myself and interestingly enough I had never heard that the ink could be harmful! I'm not sure if this would have hindered my decision to get the tattoo or not, but now looking back, it's kind of scary. To think that the ink injected inside of my body could be as poisonous as car paint is disturbing. Like you mentioned though, there isn't too much research or studies done on this so until then I don't think I will be so nervous. I can't imagine it's too bad if different health agencies aren't monitoring it yet. It's interesting because if people knew about these poisons, would they still get tattoos? Personally, I feel like they would. People get tattoo's usually for a purpose to express themselves or something about their life. I honestly don't think that most people would bat an eye about the toxins going into their body that are potentially harmful. Until there are more studies done about these toxins I personally don't think the number of people getting tattoos will change. I did some more research to find out if tattoo's are harmful to previous cancer patients or even cause cancer and I found a good article. The article explains that tattoo ink and cancer have not been found related. The only problem most people have had is irritation at the sight of the tattoo, which I had as well. To find more information you can click this link!

I know so many people with tattoos: aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, friends, etc. My friend even has his own tattoo gun and has been doing his own as well as some of our friends'. I've been thinking about getting one myself as well, but I never even heard of the ink being harmful before, either. I always knew infection was extremely possible and that needles always had to be new and all that stuff but this ink is news to me. It's actually starting to make me think I wouldn't want to get a tattoo now. I researched it and the Huffington Post claims that as many as five percent of tattoo inks contain carcinogenic compounds that can cause cancer. However, the article also states that it's not definite and more research needs to be done on the topic. So, really I guess there's always going to be a concern coming from people but caution should be taken. Your post really got me thinking!

Like others I have a tattoo as well. Infact I have two! I also never thought about if the ink was harmful or not! But what I have heard is about how dangerous the bacteria could be on the gun that is being used to tattoo you. My mom has warned me so many times about the places that you go to get tattooed or even pierced. To make sure that the people that are doing the piercing or the tattooing are actually using sanitary products. This is something that has crossed my mind a lot. When I got my first tattoo I couldn't help but think about if the gun that was being used was clean. Luckily I watched the guy clean and use a new needle right in front of me. Like others this post also got me thinking!

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