Tattoo -Leukemia connection? Possibly Even Henna
Every time I see my world renowned oncologist at Johns Hopkins I have what I call take-aways— and I always have to share because perhaps it can help save one person’s life. My appointment yesterday was no different!
While on the topic of hair dye concerns… my doctor shifted the conversation to tattoos and studies now looking to see IF there in a possible connection between Leukemia and Tattoos. This is not to influence anyone away from a tattoos but rather as a reminder to do your research and know what is going directly on your skin and into your blood stream. In particular, WHAT exactly is in the INK. If you have a henna tattoos, this isn’t the time to look away and say whew! There is concern for henna tattoos too.
Before-my tattoo warning- let me explain.
Again, the backstory and on-going saga as to why I cannot ever color my hair… not with real hair dye, not henna, not color spray. ( I brought in a bottle of spray for my hair that would color my hair temporarily and wash out and he nixed that too) He says, there are still on-going studies about a possible hair dye-leukemia connection but at the time there is not enough data to take action. He certainly doesn’t think it’s wise if you have a higher risk to cancer to use it until they can conned the dots.. Perhaps, those at higher risk develop it. They still don’t know. He says, what they do know is that the same chemicals in popular hair dyes when put on mice…produce HIGHER rates leukemia. There are currently studies to get harder data. He is so strict he doesn’t even like me to risk using henna either. He says as long as it changes the “properties” of my hair color then no. I’m already at risk. The spray – he just rolled his eyes at.
Ok… now from one dye to the next. From hair dye to tattoo dye.
Now the the big story he shared… studies looking into a possible LEUKEMIA -TATOO connection.
There is concern over this dye too. In particular the CHEMICALS in the dye that will go directly into your skin. Think about it. Anything you put on your skin can go directly into your blood stream. Whether it is sunscreen, bug spray, lotions etc. Just as magical as a small patch smaller than your average band-aid can be used as birth control — anything else you put directly on your skin can easily go into your blood stream. So know the ingredients. Know what you are putting on your skin and in your body. Leukemia, by the way, is a BLOOD cancer.
Data is still being collected to get hard facts but while looking at those with Leukemia they noticed a higher number had tattoos. Again, there is not enough hard data to say there is a DEFINITE 100% connections but doctors are collecting data and what they found is interesting so far.
I found a few articles of studies from years ago but can’t find the current ones. The big issue is WHAT is IN the INK and in the case of HENNA tattoos it is what henna is mixed with that can be cancer causing.
Take a look.
The first study is out of the UK in a study lead by Jorgen Serup, a professor dermatology of Copenhagen’s University hospital, found EVIDENCE that the NANOPARTICLES present in inks can reach major organs of the body and cause cancer. According to the Daily Mail, the study says that as many as 13 out of 21 commonly used European inks have cancer causing chemicals in them. It says that “previously too, doctors have found a link between the ink and cancer. The article adds, blue ink, the age-old color of choice for tattoo artist has cobalt and aluminum. It goes on to say “red ink may have mercurial sulfide and contain certain colored inks that often contain LEAD, CADMIUM, CHROMIUM, NICKEL, TITANIUM AND OTHER HEAVY METALS. ”
Other research I found shows that the Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation after research found potentially dangerous substances including metals and hydrocarbons that are known carcinogens. It said “ One chemical commonly used to make black ink called benzo(a)pryrene is known to be a potent carcinogen that causes ski cancer in animal tests.
So now you think the HENNA TATTOOS might be your best shot? Think again!
The Telegraph looked at a study in the UAE at a study in the “Leukemia and Lymphoma Journal” looked at women there who use henna to stain their nail, hands, feet etc and saw a higher incidence of leukemia. Why? They said it is NOT the henna that is the problem but rather the compounds used as a solvent for the henna powder. That solvent contains BENZENE which is known to cause cancer. According to the Telegraph, Benzene is banned in many countries but still used.
Since I am not familiar with the tattoo industry I have checked websites of at least 10 Tattoo Shops from NYC to DC to Austin Tx to see if perhaps a “newer safer dye” has been introduced since these studies started looking into tattoos and if there is a connection to cancer. But there is NO mention of anything except a few sites say there are risks since it is a dye/pigment being that will go into the permanent layers of your skin and that they try to minimize those risks.
Bottom line, there is NO hard evidence to say there is a 100% connection to Leukemia but there are concerns about WHAT chemicals are in the ink and the long term effects of the ink and how it enters the body.
I don’t want to impact anyone’s business. I just felt the need to share what my doctor discussed with me so you can do your own research.
Ask questions. Know before you INK. Perhaps, if you have a history of cancer in your family and you are at higher risk, talk to your doctor.
Hope you have a great day!
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