(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou sponsored to prevent the selling of temporary “henna” tattoos that contain a powerful and dangerous chemical found to cause scarring and other disfiguring skin injuries was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

Many black or blue henna tattoos contain phelylendiamine (PPD), a chemical that can cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions and comas in humans. PPD is an ingredient also commonly found in hair dye products, textile or fur dyes, photographic developer, printing inks, black rubbers, oils, greases and even gasoline.

According to the federal Food and Drug Administration, PPD is not approved for direct application to the skin.

“Vacationers and children may be unaware that the whimsical temporary tattoo they purchase can produce permanent problems,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It is unconceivable that children are being exposed to a dangerous chemical that can produce lifelong scars.”

“We need common sense restrictions in place to protect young people from unknowingly putting themselves in dangers’ way,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “No one should be introduced to this chemical.”

“These tattoos are dangerous, yet very popular at boardwalk kiosks, carnivals, and other tourism attractions around the state,” said Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Unfortunately, the tattoos are cheaper and less painful than traditional, permanent needle-applied tattoos, so they’re also popular with children too young to be tattooed.”

A January 5, 2007 article in The Record of Hackensack reported that some New Jersey families have launched lawsuits against a national company that provides PPD-based inks used in henna tattoos.

Under the bill (A-940), violations of the PPD-based tattoo prohibition would be punishable under the state’s Sanitary Code. Each violation would constitute a separate offense, punishable by a fine of $50 to $1,000, recoverable in a civil action. The bill also would require body-art establishments to provide consumers with written notification about the potential risks of temporary tattoos and require a parental signature if the consumer is under the age of 18.

The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee unanimously released the measure. It now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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