Are You Sure You Want a Tattoo?

Though many tattoos, like the ones above, are beautiful, you might want to think twice about whether you want one or not after reading this really great article in the health section of The New York Times about the question of health risks from the ink used in making tattoos. For years the tattoo business has been left alone by the Food and Drug Administration. Tattoo parlors have only had to answer to state and local authorities. However, the inks used in tattoos are subject to F.D.A. rules for cosmetics and color additives.

However, The F.D.A., after admitting that they have never paid much attention to the issue, they are changing their tune a bit with a new report called Think Before You Ink.  The agency was prompted to write this report after they received reports of bad reactions to tattoo inks years after the procedure was performed. People say their tattoos itch or become inflamed in the summer after being in the sun. The F.D.A.'s Arkansas-based National Center for Toxicological Research is investigating the chemicals used in tattoo inks and how they break down in the body, how the inks interact with light and the short- and long-term safety of pigments used in tattoo inks.