Issue Date: January 14, 2008
I am a retired cosmetic chemist who spent decades working for major cosmetics manufacturers and many additional years in my own business, dealing with the stringent control of cosmetic colorants by FDA. I was shocked when I read the "What's That Stuff?" article on tattoo ink, which contained the following statement, "The Food & Drug Administration doesn't monitor the actual pigments used in tattooing" (C&EN, Nov. 12, 2007, page 52).
All organic colors for cosmetics must be certified, and inorganic cosmetic pigments have rigid purity requirements, but colors injected under the skin surface for tattooing can contain virtually anything. Theoretically, pigments containing lead are okay for tattoos. Unbelievable.
Martin J. Weisman
Westlake Village, Calif.
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