Freelance Journalist: Matthew Barbour
Query: Further to my last request, I also now urgently need an expert who will say tattoos can give you cancer. We can plug any relevant organization, give copy approval and pay a fee. Please get back to me asap if you can help.
I can't even come up with a way to paraphrase that that is any more damning than the text itself. According to the Sun: Who gives a shit what the science is? They have a scary article to write, goddamn it!
Okay, first of all, the obvious part: there is no actual empirical evidence linking tattoos and the development of cancer. There are, however, a shitload of incredibly unreliable news sources with misleading, fear-mongering headlines that suggest otherwise. Here's what I get when I google search "tattoos cancer":
I read these stupid-ass articles and they are so full of holes you could use them as a colander. They are citing a new study suggesting that nanoparticles may be found in small concentrations in tattoo ink. This is fine... there is nothing wrong with this research. It becomes a problem, though, when you start throwing in the "and that will give you cancer" bit. They are jumping through so many steps to get to "TATTOOS=CANCER" even though we have already done the research and we already know that they do not.
If you keep track of unreliable British newspapers, you probably won't be surprised when I tell you that the Daily
Care2 even throws in some weird non-sequitur where they link to FDA warnings about tattoos. The link, which you can read here, basically says, "Go to clean tattoo parlors or you may be at risk for bacterial infections." This has nothing to do with cancer. It just sounds scary. (And gives advice that most of us already know! Of course you should go to a clean tattoo parlor!)
As for tattoos and skin cancer? According to SkinCancer.org, here is what you need to know: "It is never a good idea... to have a tattoo placed too close to or within a mole (nevus). Changes occurring in a mole — symmetry, border, color, size, shape, texture — are potentially key warning signs that the lesion may be evolving into a melanoma or another skin cancer, so make sure all moles are left completely visible, or it could delay detection." Other than that, guys: tattoo away.