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Temporary Tattoos-A Troubling Trend?

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If you plan on visiting a country market or county fair, beware

If you plan on visiting a country market or county fair, beware. Temporary tattoos are very popular with youth today but some of those tattoos may use a banned chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD), commonly known as "black henna."

Health Canada recently issued a warning about PPD, stating that it may cause allergic reactions resulting in skin rashes, contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, open sores, scarring, and other potentially harmful effects. Ask the vendor whether or not black henna is used in the temporary tattoo. If the vendor doesn't know, check whether or not these indicators of PPD are present:

  • intense, jet-black colour
  • instructions to remove the tattoo covering within an hour
  • tattoos last one to three weeks without fading
  • tattoo ink with little or no scent

Black henna is a chemical and should not be confused with other natural, safe henna preparations (usually used as hair dyes) most of which are available at health food stores.

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