Assessment of Toxic Metals and Hazardous Substances in Tattoo Inks Using Sy-XRF, AAS, and Raman Spectroscopy

Marta Manso, Sofia Pessanha, Mauro Guerra, Uwe Reinholz, Cláudia Afonso, Martin Radtke, Helena Lourenço, Maria Luísa Carvalho, Ana Guilherme Buzanich

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Synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, in conjunction with atomic absorption and Raman spectroscopy, was used to analyze a set of top brand tattoo inks to investigate the presence of toxic elements and hazardous substances. The Cr, Cu, and Pb contents were found to be above the maximum allowed levels established by the Council of Europe through the resolution ResAP(2008)1 on requirements and criteria for the safety of tattoos and permanent makeup. Raman analysis has revealed the presence of a set of prohibited substances mentioned in ResAP(2008)1, among which are the pigments Blue 15, Green 7, and Violet 23. Other pigments that were identified in white, black, red, and yellow inks are the Pigment White 6, Carbon Black, Pigment Red 8, and a diazo yellow, respectively. The present results show the importance of regulating tattoo ink composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-601
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019



  • Hazardous substances
  • Spectroscopic techniques
  • Tattoo inks
  • Toxic metals

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