Tattoos

Health written question – answered on 7th April 2005.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to ensure that the contents of inks used by tattooists do not contain chemicals at a level which is prejudicial to public health.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

The European Commission division responsible for Consumer Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) has been collecting information on the safety of tattoos and body piercing and related practices via its Joint Research Centre (Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Physical and Chemical Exposure Unit) to establish whether there is a need for specific EU legislation in this area. The Department supports the Council of Europe Resolution advising that tattoo pigments used should comply with the Cosmetics Directive, that is that only permitted colours are used, even though they are not legally covered by that Directive.

The supply of pigments that could cause harm to consumers would be against the law under General Product Safety Regulations 1994.

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