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Are Tattoos Toxic? New Research Shows Endocrine Disruptors, Metals and Carcinogens in Tattoo Ink

Research has turned up troubling findings about toxic chemicals in tattoo inks, including phthalates, metals, and hydrocarbons that are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

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That kind of research is exactly what Jordan Bayley, manager of Fly Rite Studios in Brooklyn, recommends. Every artist is different, and cities and states have different regulations since the act of tattooing is regulated at the state and local level.

The dangers of putting tattoo needle to skin have been widely publicized and are taken seriously by tattoo artists. Disposable needles are the norm. Surfaces are sterilized with hospital-grade cleaners.

Most customers, however, are more concerned with how the tattoo will look years down the road.

"People usually don't come in worried about health concerns," said Mario Delgado, the owner of Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio in San Francisco, Calif. "People are more concerned about getting a good tattoo."


Brett Israel is a researcher, writer and former intern at Environmental Health News.

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