Tattoos and Health – Knowing is Half the Battle

“Knowing is half the battle.”  ~ GI Joe

In our last post, we wanted to remind you, Dear Reader, of the importance of health and safety in the tattoo industry.  (Catch the first part of our report Tattoos and Health here!)

Tattoo Adam Siehr, who founded our tattoo studio in Waikiki, 434 Tattoo, has been in and around the field for over 20 years and knows the importance of tattooing effectively and using the most advanced of health standards.

In addition to being licensed and sanctioned by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, Adam has experienced and been licensed to tattoo in Wisconsin, Nevada, and at conventions and studios around the world.  In his continuing evolution as a Custom Tattoo Artist, taking care of the Mind, Body, and Spirit of all he encounters ranks up there.

With that, let’s continue relaying the FDA info so that you can make an informed decision and/or know what’s going on should you unfortunately encounter something described.

Tattoos and Health cont.

In our last post, we warned of the possibility that some inks and pigments might contain the harmful Myobactera.  

This issue was brought to light earlier this year as a number of cases were reported in New York, followed by reports in Colorado, Iowa, and Washington.

In addition to the pathogens found in non-tuberculous Mycobacteria family, tattoo pigments and inks may also infect people if they contain fungi and molds.

Dr. Linda Katz, the Director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, has asked that anybody involved in tattooing or “its consequences,” including health care professionals such as Doctors and Nurses, to report any complications related to tattoos to its MedWatch program.

Doctors in particular, need to become aware of the signs and symptoms so that the risk of misdiagnosis may be reduced.

Tattoo artists especially should be fully aware about this potentially serious complication. Even the most precise of tattoo artists, who follow rigid hygiene practices, may not be know that an ink or pigment is tainted.

Katz shared that without the right equipment, it is often hard to determine if there is contamination.

“The FDA says that it has two priority objectives at the moment:

  • To encourage tattoo artists to take special precautions
  • Encourage tattoo customers to seek medical care immediately if any of the signs and symptoms associated with infection are detected”

This is very important because it will help the FDA to do the proper research and provide the adequate information to tattoo artists and customers in order to keep these severe health complications from happening.

Tattoo Artists are urged to use inks known not to be contaminated by pathogens.  Other precautions can be taken including the use of sterilized water to dilute inks.

In the meanwhile, we will keep you updated as we learn more and we encourage you to tattoo and get tattooed safely.

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