Carbon black nanoparticles and other problematic constituents of black ink and their potential to harm tattooed humans

Tidsskriftartikel - 2015

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Black is the most common tattoo color, but only a few studies have shed light on the multitude of functional and contaminating chemicals present in black inks. These studies have generally shown that black inks are a diverse group, containing anything from 5 to 50+ organic components. Little is known about the possible effects on humans of internalizing these chemicals. Analysis has shown that the production of the main component, carbon black, can lead to the formation of pigments with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contents that range from very high to almost completely absent. Similar variations in PAH concentrations are observed in black inks. PAHs are known carcinogens and thus, low recommended levels have been suggested by the Council of Europe. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have recently been a topic in scientific literature related to tattoo ink. Again, it has been shown that some inks produce deleterious ROS (e.g. singlet oxygen or peroxyl radicals), presumably via either adhered organic compounds or particle surface defects. It has been shown that black tattoo inks may contain a multitude of chemicals, including carcinogens and allergens, and some have unknown toxicologies. However, it has additionally been demonstrated that some black inks already on the market do not produce ROS and also contain PAHs at levels that are below those recommended by the Council of Europe and very few additional contaminants. (c) 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel

Reference

Jacobsen NR, Clausen PA. Carbon black nanoparticles and other problematic constituents of black ink and their potential to harm tattooed humans. Current Problems in Dermatology 2015;48:170-175.
doi: 10.1159/000369319

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