Colourful cancer? Study shows some tattoo inks are toxic
PEOPLE with tattoos could have a greater risk of developing cancer, according to a leading skin cancer doctor.
A European study found that a number of tattoo inks were toxic and contained carcinogenic substances.
The Copenhagen University Hospital study found that carcinogenic compounds in cobalt and mercury could enter the bloodstream and accumulate in major organs, impairing their functionality.
Cobalt and mercury are commonly used to create blue, green and red tattoo dyes.
Port Curtis Medical Centre's Dr Colan McGree, who specialises in skin cancer diagnosis, said the European study was plausible.
"The more detailed or darker a person's tattoo, the less likely we can detect cancerous melanoma or moles on the skin," Dr McGree said.
"One thing that can be worrying is when tattoos cover a pre-existing mole, which makes it difficult to detect an existing mole."
But Dr McGree said tattooed people were more at risk of contracting other diseases than being diagnosed with cancer.
"Contracting hepatitis C should be more of a concern for people with tattoos, than developing skin cancer."
Scientists have since called for regulations on tattoo dyes similar to those governing the smoking and sunbathing industries. Tattoos seem to be as popular as ever in Gladstone, with True Colours Tattoo Store currently booked out for two months.
- Port Curtis Medical Centre (PCMC) cuts out about 3-6 moles on patients per week in CQ.
- PCMC cuts out 20 moles a week, and about diagnose on average two melanomas.
- 50% of central Queenslanders will develop skin cancer in their life.
NEW claims of a link between getting inked and cancer doesn't faze Gladstone girl Robyn Hoole.
While in the chair finishing her sleeve at True Colours Tattoo Studio, Robyn said she wasn't concerned about the findings of the European study.
"When I started getting tattoos I knew the risks and it didn't concern me at all."
So far Robyn has her feet, neck and both arms inked, with plans of getting more tattoos in the future.
It won't affect the younger generation at all.
True Colours tattoo artist Chris Bartlett has worked in the industry for five years and said the news wouldn't alarm his regular clients.
"If people want to get tattoos, they'll get tattoos," Chris said.
"I don't think I'll lose business, although maybe with the older generation.
"They freak out about that sort of thing.
"It won't affect the younger generation at all."
When asked whether he'd lose sleep over the claims, Chris laughed it off.
"I've grown up with it, I love it, I wouldn't be stressed about it," he said.