What's In A Tattoo? : Short Wave Three in 10 people in America have a tattoo, and those in the 18 - 34 age bracket, it's almost 40 percent. But what's in those inks, exactly? NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce talks about what researchers currently know about tattoo inks. It's not a lot, and researchers are trying to find out more.

Email the show at ShortWave@npr.org.
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What's In A Tattoo? Scientists Are Looking For Answers

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What's In A Tattoo? Scientists Are Looking For Answers

What's In A Tattoo? Scientists Are Looking For Answers

What's In A Tattoo? Scientists Are Looking For Answers

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/964228013/964544344" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Coloured ink bottles are seen in a box at a tattoo parlour in Berlin on June 12, 2020. - The European Commission is proposing a ban on harmful chemicals in tattoo ink, including two widely-used blue and green pigments, claiming they are often of low purity and can contain hazardous substances. John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

Coloured ink bottles are seen in a box at a tattoo parlour in Berlin on June 12, 2020. - The European Commission is proposing a ban on harmful chemicals in tattoo ink, including two widely-used blue and green pigments, claiming they are often of low purity and can contain hazardous substances.

John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

Three in 10 people in America have a tattoo, and for those in the 18 - 34 age bracket, it's almost 40 percent. But what's in those inks, exactly? NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce talks about what researchers currently know about tattoo inks. It's not a lot, and researchers are trying to find out more.

Email the show at ShortWave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Thomas Lu, edited by Gisele Grayson, and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. The audio engineer for this episode was Joshua Newell.