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Scientists find that nanoparticles from tattoos travel inside the body

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Alexander Ruper
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The elements that make up the ink in tattoos travel inside the body in micro and nanoparticle forms and reach the lymph nodes according to a study published in Scientific Reports on 12 September by scientists from Germany and the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, Grenoble (France).

It is the first time that there is analytical evidence of the transport of various organic and inorganic pigments and toxic element impurities as well as in depth characterization of the pigments ex vivo in tattooed tissues.

No one checks the chemical composition of the colours, but our study shows that maybe they should", explains Hiram Castillo, one of the authors of the study and scientist at the ESRF.

The reality is that little is known about the potential impurities in the colour mixture applied to the skin.

Most tattoo inks contain organic pigments, but also include preservatives and contaminants like nickel, chromium, manganese or cobalt.

Scientists from the ESRF, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Ludwig-Maximilians University, and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt have managed to get a very clear picture on the location of titanium dioxide once they get in the tissue.

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