So this week 17 inks have had alerts issued for a prouct recall by the European Commission, the most I’ve ever seen in a week and all except one is a brand of black ink. They’re well known brands too – Eternal, Fusion, Intenze, Dynamic, Alla Prima, Kuro Sumi and Derma International.
List of Recalled Inks
- Eternal Ink – Triple Black – lot 06/04/15, expiry 06/04/2018
- Intenze – Lining Black – batch BK99IMX40, Ref 305513H2101, Lot SS157 Exp 08-31-2018
- Kuro Sumi – Tattoo Outlining Ink – art.code 4452585959575, Batch KSOL 142209
- Premium Tattoo Ink – Tomato is Red – no batch or lot no! – production date 25/02/14
- Eternal Ink – Triple Black – batch 29.10.14 ; production date 2014.11.29 ; expiry date 2017.10.29
- Fusion – Power Black – Lot 009 ; expiry date 08/26/2017
- Intenze – Lining Black – batch BK124IMX40 ; Lot SS219 ; expiry date 09/30/2020
- Intenze – True Black – batch BK122IMX40; Lot SS211; expiry date 06/30/2020
- Intenze – Dimension Black – batch BK103DIS ; Lot SS180 ; expiry date 02/28/2019
- Eternal Ink – Triple Black – batch 10.07.15 ; production date 2015.07.10 ; expiry date 2018.07.10
- Derma International – Best Black – Batch: XI 2011; Exp. 12/18
- Derma International – Black – Batch: X2009777; Exp. 12/18
- Alla Prima – Colour Black – Batch: TG 160415 LOT: 020, Expiry date: 01.02.2020
- Unknown – Tattoo Specific Color – Black – Batch unknown – Ref #KS91808
- Dynamic – BLK – Batch 71020370
- Intenze – Black Sumi – Batch: BK103IMX40; Ref: 9C16214B19140018; Expiry date 02/28/2019
- Kokkai Sumi Ink – Lining – Tribal – Tattoo ink – Batch 2013 mar 29, MFG date 23-03-2013, Exp. date : 23-03-2018
There’s links to each alert at the end of this article.
Most of the inks originate from the US although the UK and China also make an appearance, one of the inks origin and brand name is unknown in which case you have to ask yourself how does this ink even make it onto the market?!
Each recall lists the Brand, Colour, Batch, Lot#, Production and Expiry date (if they’re available), then there’s a Risk Type and a Measures ordered by public authorities which in all these cases is ‘Ban on the marketing of the product and any accompanying measures’, which I guess means stop selling it.
In all cases the Alert originates from the Netherlands which is kind of interesting. I’m not sure if there’s been a load of allergic reactions in the Netherlands which have lead to this recall but as there’s been lab reports I’d speculate this was a mass test of black inks on the market by a lab in the Netherlands. This makes me think who funded it? It seems like a move to test a variety of different black inks on the market and see if they conform with EU regulations, maybe funded by the ECHA? which is something I wrote about last year – ECHA to investigate hazardous substances in tattoo inks? A competitor maybe? about to launch their new range of black inks that do conform to the EU regs? It seems like a bit of a check up on the tattoo ink manufacturers, black inks being the first in line.
If so, does this mean we’re going to see other alerts come out in the future months on other colours? How are the ink manufacturers going to respond, and how quickly? Should the sale of these brands of black ink be stopped in the UK? Also we know that inks are ‘brewed’ in huge batches by these manufacturers, do these alerts mean other batches and lot#’s are affected and just haven’t been tested? In other words is the formula of these inks the same and therefore it’s not only these batches of ink but the range itself that doesn’t conform to EU regs?
It raises so many questions on the ink we use. Hopefully these alerts get the manufacturers moving towards coming up with ink that is made from better and safer ingredients, we know they have to money to do it, they should be pushing towards safer pigments.
So what exactly is wrong with these inks and what risks are there?
Some of them like Derma International contain arsenic and lead, kind of worrying.
An example of most the Risk Types were :
‘The product contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)s, including naphthalene (measured values: naphthalene: (#)mg/kg; total of PAHs: (#) mg/kg). Some PAHs are carcinogenic. Naphthalene is a carcinogenic substance for which a safe level cannot be established. The Council of Europe Resolution ResAP (2008)1 on requirements and criteria for the safety of tattoos and permanent make-up, recommends that the total amount of PAHs do not exceed 0.5 mg/kg.’
I’ve inserted (#) as the values of naphthalene and PAHs differ per product.
Here’s another one from an Unnamed brand in the list
‘The product contains cadmium (measured value: 0.54 mg/kg), lead (measured value: 19.76 mg/kg) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)s, including benzo(a)pyrene (measured values: 153 ug/kg for benzo(a)pyrene; total of PAHs: 1.45 mg/kg). Cadmium accumulates in the body and can cause damage to bones and kidneys if absorbed from the tattoo and exposure to lead is harmful for human health and can cause developmental neurotoxicity. Some PAHs are carcinogenic. Benzo(a)pyrene is a carcinogenic PAH. The Council of Europe Resolution ResAP (2008)1 on requirements and criteria for the safety of tattoos and permanent make-up recommends that the levels of lead in tattoo inks do not exceed 2 mg/kg, that the level of cadmium does not exceed 0.2 mg/kg, that the level of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) does not exceed 0.005 mg/kg and the total amount of PAHs do not exceed 0.5 mg/kg’
If this doesn’t highlight the problem of people buying inks off Ebay and tattoo kits with unbranded inks or knock off inks then I’m not sure what does. (read BBC Fake Britian and tattoo inks) In any case you probably wouldn’t want to eat anything that contains these types of chemicals, that should go for putting it in the skin too.
I’ve put together a list the 17 recalled inks and a link to each alert, if you’d like to receive alerts in the future then feel free to sign up to the newsletter.
I think we’re going to see a shake up on inks in our industry in the near future, watch this space.
Links to recalled Inks