On 23 March 2021, the hearing of Petition No. 1072/2020, submitted by Erich Mähnert and Dipl. Ing. (FH) Michael Dirks, on the preservation of the two pigments Blue 15:3 & Green 7 in Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH) took place in the EU Petitions Committee.
Around 53,000 supporters from all over Europe are currently campaigning to keep important pigments in the colour palette for pigmentation and tattooing:
"This is the most successful petition ever submitted to the European Parliament.
In MEP DI Alexander Bernhuber, the tattooing industry has found a convinced comrade-in-arms against the ban of the two pigments. "Health always comes first, but bans must be proportionate and must not bring down an industry without any alternative," said Bernhuber, an ÖVP MEP. Accordingly, he calls for a "practical solution that is based on science and takes the tattoo industry into account".
After a successful hearing of the two initiators before the European Parliament and the European Commission, it is now the Commission's turn to comment on the matter.
The petition can still be supported on the homepage of the European Parliament.
Petition No 1072/2020 by Erich Mähnert (Austrian) on maintaining different pigments in Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH)
In principle, we welcome auniform regulation to increase safety for the consumer. But in this case, exactly the opposite is occurring. If the two pigments Blue 15 and Green 7 are banned in 2023 for the manufacture of tattooing products in Europe, the following serious problems would arise:
1. Consumer demand in the market cannot be regulated.
Consumer safety decreases drastically.The consumer will continue to not do without his high-quality color tattoos, which he currently gets and continues to see in public and in the media. If the consumer no longer receives these from reputable tattoo artists in Europe, he will either go to other EU countries or to non-official and dubious providers. Just these non-official and unserious providers have never and will continue to adhere to no regulations. They continue to obtain their tattoo products without any control and without the possibility of traceability on online platforms such as Amazon, Ebay & Co. Thus, the REACH regulation promotes moonlighting and poses a risk to consumers.
2. The economy will suffer damage and all EU member states will suffer fiscal deficits.
Member states will not only lose the current existing safety mechanisms, but will also receive a significant tax deficit. All market-leading manufacturers, which by the way are not basedin the EU, will lose up to 65% of all color shades. These shades are not only existential for tattooing in the conventional sense. Also in the area of permanent make-up and especially in the area of nipple reconstructions after breast removal, these shades are of utmost importance. The economic damage caused by the migration to the EU third country affects therefore not only the tattoo industry, but also a part of the cosmetic industry (permanent make-up) and the medical tattoos such as nipple reconstruction. This ban massively restricts the competitiveness of the European tattoo industry compared to other EU countries. This contradicts a European Community idea.
3. The transition period of 2 years is far too short due to the lack of alternative pigments.
The 2-year transition period granted by ECHA to find alternative pigments is far too short for the tattoo industry. It is already known that there are no equivalent alternatives in the conventional pigment industry. Furthermore, it is already known that the pigment industry has no economic interest in producing the desired alternatives for the tattoo industry. And since tattoo ink manufacturers can only use the raw materials that the pigment industry makes available to them, the 2-year transition period is far too short.
1. The ban is based purely on suspicion by ECHA and does not includesufficient scientific data.
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment published a statement on September 08, 2020, stating that currently available data indicate only a comparatively low toxicity. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment therefore sees no need for action to ban the pigments. This statement, from the German government's advisory institution for consumer protection, clearly shows that the ban was determined on the basis of insufficient data and, moreover, without involving the affected industry.
ECHA usually evaluates individual substances and not mixtures of substances. Accordingly, preservatives would fall under the Biocides Directive and thus be completely banned for use in tattoo inks. As a result, the cost of medical treatments for bacterial infections per person would double.
2. ECHA contradicts itself in comparing tattoo industry with cosmetics industry.
ECHA reasons that substances that are banned on the skin must also be banned under the skin and, conversely, allows substances that are permitted in the cosmetics industry but are not suitable for tattooing. For example, ECHA bans the pigment Blue 15 for tattoos because it has not been approved for use in hair dyes, but at the same time it is allowed for all applications in cosmetics, especially for cosmetics with mucosal contact of the eye. In this regard, it should be noted that approval for this area of application is actually an approval criterion for use in tattoo inks. It also follows that in the future, manufacturers of tattoo inks will be allowed under theCosmetics Regulation to use ingredients that release toxic substances when deposited in the skin. Examples include ultramarine blue, which emits hydrogen sulfide, and ferric hexacyanoferate, which emits hydrogen cyanide. Both are toxic, but would be allowed in tattoo inks, as these substances are allowed in the Cosmetics Ordinance. Therefore, as a chemical engineer, I believe that the ban is excessive and counterproductive.
Wir fordern von der EU Kommission die Abkoppelung der Kosmetik-Verordnung sowie das Aussetzen des Verbots. Als Vertreter der Branche stehen wir sehr gerne für einen intensiven Austausch mit der Kommission zur Verfügung.