New research suggests a link between tattoo ink and cancer

One colour ink in particular is potentially more dangerous than others

New research suggests a link between tattoo ink and cancer

Picture by: Desmond Boylan / AP/Press Association Images

New research by The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) suggests that tattoo ink is potentially toxic, can cause skin problems and pose an increased risk of cancer development.

The research suggests that certain chemicals in tattoo inks can cause a number of skin problems, from allergic reactions and painful itching that can last for years to an increased risk of cancer.

A detailed report outlining which chemicals pose the greatest risk will be published soon.

Red inks were described as the most dangerous although blue, green and black inks also came under fire.

In a statement the agency said:

"As tattoo inks are currently not subject to harmonised control in the EU, ECHA has been asked to assess the risks.

“Many reports show concerns for public health stemming from the composition of inks used for tattooing.

“The most severe concerns are allergies caused by the substances in the inks and possible carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxic effects."

The ECHA said the report will not look into any sanitation issues that also may be dangerous.

"The potential restriction would not control risks from poor hygiene that may also be an issue with tattooing."

The report will be published before the end of July and could potentially lead to the chemicals being banned in the European Union.