"Like a painter, you suddenly lose a gigantic part of your palette” with no alternatives in sight.

Tattoo parlors say their art will lose a lot of its vibrancy after European Union rules banning thousands of chemicals in their coloring ink kick in on Wednesday. The 27-nation bloc answers back that public health will be much better served with tougher restrictions on elements in ink that may cause cancer or allergies.

The standoff between regulation and freedom of artistic expression has triggered a torrent of complaints and accusations.

In Amsterdam, Tycho Veldhoen has plied his trade for a quarter century and fears an “enormous impact” on his work once certain colors are banned. “Because, like a painter, you suddenly lose a gigantic part of your palette” with no alternatives in sight.

And he warned that it could even get worse next year when more inks currently in use could be banned. Tattoo shops in the 27-nation bloc have had a rough two years since COVID-19 hit with restrictions and lockdowns. Now they say a perfectly avoidable crisis is hitting them even harder.

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