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Alternatives to Traditional Tattoo Inks

Tattoos can be visually absorbing, but many may not think of the ingredients in the inks and their possible effects.

There are many risks associated with getting tattoos, and possible poisons in the ink are only one of them.

Inks vary, but can contain toxic heavy metals including lead, cadmium, chromium and arsenic, among many others. Red inks have some of the highest levels of contaminants which can include mercury. These are all environmental and human health hazards.

The American Environmental Safety Institute has given the example of an index card, which is 3 inches/7.6 centimeters by 5 inches/12.7 centimeters to represent possible lead levels. An equivalently sized tattoo could hold as much as 1.23 micrograms of lead.

If you appreciate tattooed works of art but ever wonder if there are safer inks than the traditionally used, you may be glad to know there are some alternatives available.

Better choices are pigments that are non-metallic. These are normally derived from organic plants and are additive free. Soy based inks particularly seem to be gaining in popularity with a reportedly favorable outcome. There are also vegan inks available that do not contain animal by-products or synthetic fillers.

Some have criticized these types of inks for not being as sharp, colorful or lasting as traditional varieties. However others criticize the risks with inks that may be made with toxins not intended for absorption. There is also the possibility of uncertainty in knowing a full ingredient list regarding tattoo inks, although more requirements are being made in the industry regarding labeling.

Though obviously if considering a tattoo thorough research, high-quality work and proper aftercare are requirements, but also don’t be afraid to ask what the inks that will be used are made of. A reputable artist will be able to tell you, or at least will willingly seek out an answer as they realize the importance of the lasting decision you will be making.

Those partial to the art of tattooing may find it promising that more tattoo artists are identifying the need for a wider selection of skin friendlier inks.

Source: MacIntosh, H.S. April 24, 2007. Ask TreeHugger: Are Tattoo Inks Toxic? Retrieved from: Treehugger

Image Source: Google Images

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