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Original Research |

Mercury-Cadmium Sensitivity in Tattoos: A Photoallergic Reaction in Red Pigment

Ann Intern Med. 1967;67(5):984-989. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-67-5-984
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Syphilis is usually transmitted by sexual contact, fortunately or unfortunately. Leprosy may be transmitted to a susceptible individual by still-undetermined means. Serum hepatitis is occasionally an extra gift to the recipient of a blood transfusion. Syphilis, leprosy, and hepatitis have also been transmitted by the needles of tattoo "artists." Several excellent reviews have described these and other medical complications of tattoos (1-3).

Allergic reactions to the pigments in tattoos are rare but have been documented; the most frequent color is red, which is usually mercuric sulfide (cinnabar). Brose (4), in 1927, was first to describe an irritative phenomenon in red


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