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FDA cautions the public about the dangers of tattoo ink

Tattoos in style on men and women.
Tattoos in style on men and women.
garyr

With 21% of the adult population getting tattoos like our children and grandchildren, the risks of skin infection multiplies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put out a notice this last week warning tattoo parlors, their customers, permanent make-up artist and the public buying at home tattoo kits to take precautions to prevent skin infections. The ink used in the tattoo procedure caused infections of the skin.

Skin infection shows up with changes in the skin at the site of the tattoo that includes redness, swelling, fluid leaking from the skin, blemishes or acute pain at the skin site. Anyone noticing any of these signs should seek medical care. More serious infection can occur and spread to the bloodstream. Bloodstream infections produce fever, shaking chills and sweats. These more life-threatening infections in the blood usually require hospitalization. It remains vital to report to a healthcare provider if these symptoms appear.

In separate reports, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted cases of non-tuberculous Mycobacterial skin infections traced to contaminated water used to dilute the ink. Fourteen cases of infection occurred in New York, two cases in Washington State, and one each in Colorado, and Iowa. Sterile water must be used if the ink needs to be diluted. The public is advised to seek medical care when symptoms of infection occur.

White and Blue Lion, Inc. recalled their contaminated ink product, but the FDA voices concern that other distributors could be supplying contaminated ink. The FDA recommends everyone watch out for inks meant for permanent make-up or traditional body tattoos that fit the description below:

  • Labeled with no brand name, carries a dragon logo, or are missing the name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor,
  • Are sold singly and in kits containing anywhere from five to 54, or more, bottles of inks of various colors, and
  • Are marked with “Lotch” [sic] and Batch numbers, and “Date produced” and “Best if used by” dates.

The person receiving the tattoo as well as the tattoo artist should check the ink container for the above container descriptions. If any abnormal ink container is found, dispose of the suspect tattoo inks.