Daily Archives: September 1, 2011

‘Now tattoos give you cancer’

It always amuses me when a Daily Mail hack writes an article about something new ‘causing cancer’ in a kind of eyebrows-raised ‘whatever will they link to cancer next?’ kind of way when 99% of the time the only organisation intent on linking everything to the causation of cancer is the newspaper that they write for.

Today Damien Gayle takes his turn with his article: ‘Now tattoos give you cancer: U.S. regulator probes fears inks contain carcinogenic chemicals’. His introduction is breathtakingly bereft of self-awareness:

Smoking, drinking, sunbathing and mobile phones have all been implicated in the surge in cancer diagnoses.

But now it seems another cause may soon be added to the ever-growing list: tattoos.

And, naturally, when you reach the end of the article doubts start to creep in about whether tattoos are in fact being linked to cancer – let alone ‘give you cancer’ as suggested by the headline:

serious epidemiological studies pose difficulties, since getting a tattoo is still risky behaviour.

Attempting to isolate whether these are the carcinogenic factors in a group of people who habitually engage in risk taking behaviours – like smoking – is impossible…

A spokesman for the agency [FDA] said: ‘Because the dyes and inks used in tattoos have not been approved by FDA, we do not know the specific composition of what these inks and dyes may contain.

‘Therefore, we are unable to evaluate for chronic health concerns, such as cancer.’

So, the Daily Mail has added another cause to the ever-growing list by immediately concluding that if something is investigated – even vaguely – to see whether it might be capable of causing cancer it must therefore be already causing cancer; whilst at the same time chuckling about those people that keep adding stuff to the ever-growing cancer list.