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International Commission for Tattoo Inks convened at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

06/2023, 24.03.2023

Press release of BfR and BMUV: New BfR Commission advises on questions concerning the composition of tattoo inks and the assessment of health risks

The Commission for Tattoo Inks is composed of experts from different disciplines and fields of activity. These include the fields of medicine, toxicology, chemistry, hygiene and manufacturing companies of tattoo inks. The commission, which met last week (23 March 2023) for its first working session, will advise the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on issues relating to the composition of tattoo inks and their toxicological testing and evaluation. With the establishment of this commission, the spectrum of existing commissions at the BfR is expanded by another important focus.

Dr. Christiane Rohleder, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection (BMUV): "Consumers must be able to rely on the fact that tattoo inks are safe. The commission set up on the recommendation of the Ministry of Consumer Protection is an important step towards further improving the safety of tattoo inks. The commission will focus on the health effects  in order to close knowledge gaps that currently exist regarding potential health risks. My goal is to ensure that people don't have to worry about potential health risks when they get tattoos."

Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), said: "With this world's first expert commission, the BfR has succeeded in bringing together the best in their respective fields for a regular exchange in order to pool expertise on tattoo inks at the highest scientific level. Their recommendations have an advisory character for both BfR risk assessment and policy advice."

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, there are concerns that some tattoo inks contain potentially harmful ingredients that could pose a health risk to consumers. A comprehensive scientific risk assessment of tattoo inks is currently not possible due to the lack of specific data on the effects of color pigments in the skin and their possible distribution in the human body. Suitable methods must first be developed and validated. The uniform methods and requirements necessary for a comprehensive scientific risk assessment of tattoo pigments are to be discussed in the BfR Commission with its own committees, in particular on "analytics" and "toxicology", "hygiene and technology".

The work of the commission is intended to contribute to new findings and recommendations on the safety of tattoo inks. The scientific expertise of the commission has an advisory character and is carried out separately from the BfR risk assessment, in which it is not involved.

The BMUV supports the work of the commission and will continue to work together with the BfR to protect consumer health in tattooing through scientific risk assessment and regulation.

For more information on the International Commission on Tattoo inks, please visit the BfR website at:

The BfR-Committees

About the BfR

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

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.




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