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Do tattoos lead to previously unknown health problems?
When people get a tattoo, there are always some risks involved. For example, there is a possibility that allergic reactions, infections or even diseases such as hepatitis or tetanus may occur if the tattoo device has not been properly sterilized. Researchers have now found that tattoos can pose even greater health risks because toxic metals from the ink can get into the immune system and affect the lymph nodes.
The scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) found in their investigation that the particles of ink in tattoos can get into our lymph nodes. The doctors published the results of their study in the scientific journal "Scientific Reports".
Chemical particles found in the lymphatic tissue of tattooed people
For their study, the experts examined the lymph nodes and skin samples from deceased donors. Four of them had tattoos, two of the donors had never been tattooed. The doctors found various chemical particles from contaminants such as nickel, chromium, manganese and cobalt in the lymphatic tissue of the tattooed people. The scientists used X-rays to determine these nanoparticles.
If you are getting a tattoo, pay attention to the composition of the colors
When people get a tattoo, they are often very careful when choosing a tattoo artist and pay particular attention to hygiene and the use of sterile needles. However, no one checks the chemical composition of the colors, the researchers report. However, the current study shows that this should be an important factor when choosing a tattoo artist, explains author Hiram Castillo.
Titanium dioxide that has penetrated into the body can lead to negative consequences
So-called titanium dioxide is used as a component of the ink for tattoos to create certain colors. Titanium dioxide can be found in many everyday products, such as paint, food and cosmetic products. The use of titanium dioxide has become increasingly critical in recent years, and yet titanium dioxide is one of the 50 most produced chemicals worldwide. Previous research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer had already found that titanium dioxide that penetrated the body could have negative health effects.
What causes titanium dioxide in the lymph nodes?
The doctors suspect that the titanium dioxide particles in the ink are transported through the blood to the lymph nodes - or taken up by immune cells, which they then deposit. The lymph nodes are small glands found all over the body. They are part of the human lymphatic system, which transports fluid, nutrients and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream. This system is an important part of the immune system, the body's defense system against diseases. Titanium dioxide causes the lymph nodes to swell, thereby hindering their ability to fight infections, the experts explain.
How do colored lymph nodes develop?
Pigments from tattoos get into the human lymph nodes and there is even visual evidence for this, the researchers emphasize. The lymph nodes are colored by the colors of the tattoo, according to author Bernhard Hesse from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).
More research is needed
There is strong evidence of long-term deposition of toxic elements in the body after a tattoo, the scientists explain. Further research is now needed to determine and better understand the adverse effects. (as)