Scary Tattoo News: Should You Worry?

tattoo by jason sall starlight tattooUh-oh, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, and Kat Von D especially better all watch out! Their love for ink could later put their health at risk! At least, according to worries out of the Food and Drug Administration that now we have to be panicky about tattoos causing cancer. D'oh! As if the sun, envirotoxins, radiation, and all the toxins in our food weren't enough to worry about. Jeeeeze!

The FDA has launched an investigation after new research turned up findings that there are toxic chemicals in tattoo ink. Okay ... But I don't get why we need all this brouhaha all of a sudden? Come on. It's not like people have thought they were injecting plant-based antioxidants into their skin all of this time?


But are a couple measly tattoos (which, let's be real, are what the majority of people have) going to definitively lead to a cancer diagnosis? Uhhh, I wouldn't jump the tattoo gun on that one.

The truth: Studies have found that the inks used for tats can contain phthalates, metals, and hydrocarbons that are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Black ink can have a chemical called benzo(a)pyrene, known to be a potent carcinogen that caused skin cancer in ANIMAL (aka not human) studies. Colored ink may contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, titanium and other heavy metals that could lead to allergies or diseases.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. In other words, tattoo ink is not necessarily something that's gonna get a "good for you," "green" stamp of approval. Duh. Although, sure, it would be awesome to see some inks that are more pure come on the market.

Tattoos aren't for me, but my boyfriend has three, and I'm not losing sleep worrying that he's going to end up getting cancer no thanks to his ink. There are plenty of other things he and I experience on a much more regular basis that seem more troublesome, like too many CAT scans or living in an overly populated area filled with environmental pollution. But I can't lose sleep over those either, because we just do our best together to eat right, take care of ourselves, steer clear of frequent exposure to toxins, use natural sunblock, etc. That's all anyone can do.

The FDA can investigate it all they want (even though I say they have much bigger fish to fry), but a few tattoos over the course of a lifetime shouldn't be anyone's biggest health concern.

What do you think about the FDA's worry?


Image via Tattoo Artist Jason Sall

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