What’s in tattoo ink?

I saw my first tattoo on a baseball field in Chicago 70 years ago as a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I think it was an anchor or something seafaring as the fellow had been in the Navy. I actually got my first (and only) tattoo at the age of 76. No sense rushing into these things.

From life-like faces to elaborate nature scenes, tattoos are a true art form. Although people have decorated their bodies for millennia for ceremonial and religious reasons, many people today adorn themselves with these images as a form of self-expression. But the inks used for tattoos are unregulated in the U.S., resulting in products whose components are largely a mystery. Now, researchers have analyzed almost 100 inks and report that even when these products include an ingredient label, the lists often aren’t accurate. The team also detected small particles that could be harmful to cells.

The researchers presented their results at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS Fall 2022 is a hybrid meeting being held virtually and in-person Aug. 21–25, with on-demand access available Aug. 26–Sept. 9. The meeting features nearly 11,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.


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2 responses to “What’s in tattoo ink?

  1. Thank you for your post! My adult daughter has gotten tattoos at different times while she was growing up. When she was young, our neighborhood pool swim team would rally before swim meets and the kids would decorate themselves with face paint. It was very tribal and reminded me of Lord of the Flies! The tattoos she chose as a young adult were Disney themed – Nemo. She got a Batman tattoo in memory of a dear family friend who died…he had served in Viet Nam and Batman was a special hero of his.

    Liked by 2 people

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