Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 596–601 | Cite as

Assessment of Toxic Metals and Hazardous Substances in Tattoo Inks Using Sy-XRF, AAS, and Raman Spectroscopy

  • Marta Manso
  • Sofia Pessanha
  • Mauro Guerra
  • Uwe Reinholz
  • Cláudia Afonso
  • Martin Radtke
  • Helena Lourenço
  • Maria Luísa Carvalho
  • Ana Guilherme Buzanich


Synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, in conjunction with atomic absorption and Raman spectroscopy, was used to analyze a set of top brand tattoo inks to investigate the presence of toxic elements and hazardous substances. The Cr, Cu, and Pb contents were found to be above the maximum allowed levels established by the Council of Europe through the resolution ResAP(2008)1 on requirements and criteria for the safety of tattoos and permanent makeup. Raman analysis has revealed the presence of a set of prohibited substances mentioned in ResAP(2008)1, among which are the pigments Blue 15, Green 7, and Violet 23. Other pigments that were identified in white, black, red, and yellow inks are the Pigment White 6, Carbon Black, Pigment Red 8, and a diazo yellow, respectively. The present results show the importance of regulating tattoo ink composition.


Tattoo inks Toxic metals Hazardous substances Spectroscopic techniques 



We thank HZB for the allocation of synchrotron radiation beamtime.

Funding Information

This study was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology grants BPD/92455/2013 and SFRH/BPD/94234/2013 and by the research center grant no. UID/FIS/04559/2013 to LIBPhys-UNL, from the FCT/MCTES/PIDDAC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Manso
    • 1
  • Sofia Pessanha
    • 1
  • Mauro Guerra
    • 1
  • Uwe Reinholz
    • 2
  • Cláudia Afonso
    • 3
  • Martin Radtke
    • 2
  • Helena Lourenço
    • 3
  • Maria Luísa Carvalho
    • 1
  • Ana Guilherme Buzanich
    • 2
  1. 1.LIBPhys-UNL Laboratório de Instrumentação, Engenharia Biomédica e Física da Radiação, Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT)Universidade Nova de LisboaCosta de CaparicaPortugal
  2. 2.Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)BerlinGermany
  3. 3.Division of Aquaculture and UpgradingIPMA Portuguese Institute for the Sea and AtmosphereLisbonPortugal

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