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For safe tattoo inks: BfR event promotes exchange between scientists, lawmakers and manufacturers

44/2021, 10.11.2021

The 2nd International Conference on Tattoo Safety will take place in Berlin from November 18 to 19, 2021

Tattoos are trending. According to a representative survey by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), around 12% of the German population have tattoos. For many people, tattoos are considered harmless to health. At the same time, debate surrounds a range of health risks connected with tattoo inks, from the occurrence of carcinogenic substances to allergies and infections. The necessary requirements for a comprehensive health risk assessment will be discussed at the 2nd International Conference on Tattoo Safety. The event, organised by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), brings together experts from the fields of toxicology, lawmaking and manufacturing. "So far, there has been little research on tattoo inks and long-term effects of pigments in the body," says BfR President Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Just body adornment or a risk that gets under your skin? This question needs urgent clarification."

From January 2022, certain substances used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up will be gradually restricted in the European Union. Despite advances in the identification of health risks from tattoos, many aspects such as the toxicity of degradation products still require research and investigation. The 2nd International Conference on Tattoo Safety offers toxicology researchers, legislative institutions and manufacturers a platform to define criteria for the toxicological assessment of tattoo inks and their manufacturing quality. This requires the assessment of research findings from a toxicological standpoint, identification of gaps in data and the development of concepts to acquire the missing data. In addition, current developments surrounding tattoo ink regulation under the European Chemicals Ordinance (REACH) will be discussed with industry representatives.

The 2nd International Conference on Tattoo Safety will be hosted from November 18 to 19, 2021, at the Berlin Museum of Natural History, as part of the BfR event "Challenges for Public Health Protection in the 21st Century". Interested parties can register for online participation until November 17:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. The BfR advises the Federal Government and the States ('Laender') on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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