12 of 25 Tattoo Inks Tested In South Korea Contain Toxic Materials

Michael Song, Oct. 4, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

The Ministry of Environment said Tuesday that it had ordered a recall of tattoo inks after it found toxic substances such as zinc and lead in them. The ministry said that 12 out of the 25 tattoo inks tested by the Korea Consumer Agency exceeded the permissible levels of heavy metal content. One of the tested products contained up to six different heavy metal substances that exceeded the ministry-set health limits.

The ministry added that two of the tattoo ink products even contained three times more cadmium and five times more arsenic than allowed. Cadmium and arsenic are highly toxic and are considered carcinogens, according to International Agency for Research on Cancer. 

Up to 30 times more zinc was detected from all of the 25 tested products, compared to the permissible level at 50mg/kg of zinc for chemical products.
The ministry said that constant exposure to these substances through chemical products may lead to dermatitis and allergic reactions. 

In Korea, tattoo inks are frequently used among women as a popular ingredient in semi-permanent eyebrow makeup.

According to the Act on Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals, tattoo inks used for semi-permanent eyebrow makeup are classified as harmful products.

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