"Although sleazy 'scratcher shops' with unskilled artists and dubious safety records are becoming a thing of the past, scientists are growing concerned about what's going into tattooed skin, not just how it got there."
"New research has turned up troubling details about chemicals in tattoo inks, including some endocrine disruptors and toxic metals, and a compound that has been called one of the most potent skin carcinogens. The FDA has launched an investigation into concerns about ink safety. But that doesn't seem to concern tattoo artists or their clients. More than 45 million Americans – including nearly 40 percent of adults in their late 20s – have a tattoo.
The FDA and scientists say colored inks often contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, titanium and other heavy metals. Some are industrial grade colors suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint. Black tattoo inks often are made of soot so they contain known carcinogens called PAHs. "