Although there has been less buzz in the US than in Europe about REACH and its effects on the tattoo industry, the ripple effects can be seen in the US tattoo industry. Though these regulations only directly affect the 27 countries in the European Union, the implications reach much further. In order to understand what REACH regulations mean for the US, it is important to have a clear picture of what they are.
What Is REACH?
REACH stands for “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemical Substances.” To put it plainly, REACH is the set of rules and regulations that the EU has set in place to protect people and the environment from substances and chemicals that they deem to be hazardous. These regulations extend far beyond the tattoo industry to chemicals used in industrial processes as well as those used in everyday applications including cleaning products for the home, paints, and even articles of clothing.
Although the first regulations about the ingredients that can be included in tattoo ink went into effect in January 2022, REACH regulations have been in place for many industries since 2007. REACH puts the burden of proving products are safe on manufacturers and importers of products, including tattoo ink. It falls to them to ensure they are only using approved pigments and substances in their products, gather all the information about the ingredients used, and register with the ECHA.
What Is the ECHA?
The ECHA or European Chemicals Agency is the agency tasked with not only determining which chemicals, like pigments for tattoo ink, are safe but also for ensuring compliance with EU REACH regulations.
What Tattoo Ink Ingredients Have Been Banned So Far?
The primary impact of EU REACH regulations on the tattoo industry has been the banning of 25 pigments that are mainly used to manufacture red, orange, and yellow tattoo ink. While it did not affect a majority of the black and white tattoo inks on the market, it had a huge impact on the availability of tattoo inks containing any red, orange, and yellow pigments.
Will REACH Regulations Result in Any Additional Colors Being Banned?
When it comes to tattoo ink, the REACH regulations we have seen so far are just the tip of the iceberg. In January 2023, a ban will go into effect prohibiting the use of Blue 15:3 and Green 7. It is estimated that this ban would effectively eliminate between 60-70% of the current color palette of tattoo ink available to tattoo artists on the market.
How will REACH Regulations Impact the US Tattoo Industry?
Unless you are a US tattoo artist that routinely purchases tattoo ink from a European manufacturer, these REACH regulations in Europe won’t have a huge impact on your day-to-day operations. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration considers tattoo ink to be a cosmetic. Instead of the burden of proof being on manufacturers to state what is in their ink and use only certain ingredients, it falls to the consumer to report a problem.
This requires responsible tattoo artists to do their due diligence to ensure that the tattoo ink they are using is manufactured responsibly. Since the start, Quantum Tattoo Inks has been committed to quality and safety. That is why you can find the ingredients for our products right on our website. Purchasing authentic Quantum Tattoo Inks will ensure that you keep your clients safe and happy with the long-lasting results our products provide.
What Is Quantum Tattoo Inks Doing To Comply With REACH Regulations?
Because there was some advance notice of the ban on the 25 initial pigments, Quantum Tattoo Ink was able to start getting approvals for the Quantum Gold Label EU REACH Compliant line of tattoo inks earlier this year. We began with colors we were already manufacturing that did not contain the banned pigments including all of our black tattoo inks, our gray wash, and many of our white tattoo inks. We also started the process of reformulating many colors and creating new colors using EU REACH Compliant pigments. While these Gold Label products were created for the needs of tattoo artists facing EU REACH restrictions, they are also available on our website for tattoo artists in the US.
As of the publishing of this article in September 2022, all of the blue tattoo inks, green tattoo inks, and other colors containing blue and green pigments listed in the Gold Label section of our website are EU REACH Compliant. We are currently working on new color formulas using approved alternatives to Blue 15:3 and Green 7 to provide tattoo artists in Europe with the richest palette of blues and greens possible under the additional REACH regulations that will come into effect in January 2023.
These REACH regulations provide some of the most stringent standards for tattoo ink that Europe, or the world, has ever known. Complying with them has required us to double down on our mission to bring artists around the world a safe and high-quality product that provides excellent results for their clients. Whether you are in the EU or anywhere else in the world, this commitment means that when you purchase Quantum Tattoo Inks, you are purchasing one of the safest tattoo inks in the world.