HSE publishes two restriction dossiers on lead in ammunition and substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up (PMU)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is opening a six-month public consultation on two restriction proposals.

Today (6 May), HSE published restriction dossiers on lead in ammunition and substances in tattoo inks and PMU following a request from the Defra Secretary of State, with agreement from the Scottish and Welsh Government.

Restrictions are developed to limit, ban or set conditions on the manufacture, placing on the market or use of a substance (or group of substances) that are of concern due to risks posed to human health and/or the environment.

HSE has proposed a restriction on hazardous substances present in tattoo inks and PMU as a precautionary measure to address potential risks to human health – there is currently no legislation in Great Britain that addresses the risks presented by insertion into the skin of these substances.

Dr Richard Daniels, HSE’s Director of Chemicals Policy, said: “We want to ensure that the tattoo and permanent makeup industry continues to operate to world-leading safety standards and invite it to look closely at these proposed restrictions during the consultation period.

“The pigments used in tattoo inks and PMU are not necessarily produced specifically for tattooing. These pigments are often of low purity and can contain, intentionally or as an impurity, hazardous substances.”

HSE has proposed a restriction on lead in ammunition after identifying there is an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment that is not adequately controlled.

Dr Daniels continued: “The harm of lead ammunition to wildfowl is of particular concern – poisoning from ingesting lead ammunition can cause long-term suffering and slow painful deaths for animals.

“Linked to this, the health of humans, particularly children, may also be adversely affected from eating meat killed with lead ammunition.”

In compiling the two dossiers, HSE held a 60-day call for evidence on each proposal last year. HSE is now opening a six-month public consultation on each published dossier and invite interested parties to consider the questions posed to help HSE to form opinions on the proposed restrictions in the next stage of this process.

In forming opinions on whether to introduce the restrictions, HSE will engage with independent experts on the REACH Independent Scientific Expert Pool (RISEP), who will form a Challenge Panel to provide knowledge, scrutiny and challenge.

The public consultations for lead in ammunition and substances in tattoo inks and PMU can be found on Citizen Space.

Please click on the above links to take part in the six-month long public consultation.


Notes to editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. HSE is the Agency for UK REACH and therefore have responsibility for the majority of the regulatory functions under UK REACH. In the delivery of these functions, HSE is supported by and/or reportable to a number of other government organisations.
  3. HSE news releases are available at: http://press.hse.gov.uk