Tattoo Taboos? Swiss Law Will Soon Regulate Pigments, Parlors, Removals

Article excerpt

PARIS -- International efforts to control health risks associated with tattoos got a boost from Switzerland's recent decision to regulate the content of tattoo pigments.

By the end of 2006, Switzerland will have a federal law regulating what can be included in tattoo pigments, minimal health-risk education and examinations for tattoo artists, and verification of tattoo parlors, Maurice Adatto, M.D., said at the 14th International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology World Congress.

Health officials also hope to include a clause regulating who can remove tattoos or permanent makeup, which is becoming a growing problem, said Dr. Adatto, a surgeon with the Skinpulse Dermatology Center in Geneva, who is helping to craft the legislation.

Members of the audience voiced hope that the legislation would serve as an international model, and suggested it should require manufacturers to identify the particle size of pigments, allowing for the efficient removal of tattoos in the future.

Dermatologists are often confronted with a mixture of colors with varying particle sizes that can react differently to various laser wavelengths, making removal unpredictable and difficult.

Lawyers advising the group took into account that some inks contain more than 50 ingredients each and suggested that it would be best to start by regulating what cannot be included in the inks, Dr. Adatto said.

"It's not perfect, but it's a start," he said.

Other positive signs are that Austria is looking to follow suit with similar legislation, and French manufacturers recently began selling sterilized diluents for powdered colors. …