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Voluntary recall of tattoo supplies from SoCal area

Tattoo needles and ink from White & Blue Lion are being recalled due to bacterial contamination.
Tattoo needles and ink from White & Blue Lion are being recalled due to bacterial contamination.Matt Borowick/Wikimedia Commons

There is an immediate recall, strictly at the prerogative of the company involved—White & Blue Lion, based in the City of Industry, CA—of a variety of tattooing materials due to microbial infection. The inks, needles and kits subject to this action have been contaminated by bacteria. The type of specific pathogen is unknown to the public at this point in time. However, reports from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) state that one person has been diagnosed with an illness caused by the products so far. What is known is that any infection caused by the bacteria in this situation may lead to a condition known as sepsis, which is potentially lethal. Sepsis, also known as septicemia or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), is a reaction of the body to bacterially-induced inflammation. This often results in the failure of various internal organs and frequently progresses to septic shock and eventually, death.

The tattooing products that are infected are also being sold by another firm, 8Decades, and, along with those sold directly from White & Blue Lion, are being distributed via amazon.com. It is not known at this time if any individual dealers, such as those at area flea markets where many items are re-sold after being purchased online, are dealing with the toxic kits or other components. Anyone visiting such outlets or shopping at small private shops or even street sales (a common means of selling in the Los Angeles area) should beware of these items.

A possible real problem for those wanting a quick, cheap tattoo is the ubiquitous unlicensed tattoo “artist” who may be using the White & Blue Lion products. Since a quality tattoo is expensive, many people (especially those who are inebriated, frankly) opt for a quick job at a friend’s house or in the back of a van. Fairs and parties are another source of the quickie-tattoo where infections of all kinds are freely available and the perpetrator is never seen again. By the time the customer not only sobers up but has an infection, which could start rather quickly given the usually-filthy conditions of the tattoo “parlor”, the person who did the work and the customer’s money are long gone. Unfortunately, the illness will stick around much longer.

The bottom line is, when you really want to have permanent body art, shop around. Be more positive than anything in your life that you truly want this design put into your skin and blood stream forever. Check around with friends who have tattoos you like, as to where the best work is done. That means not only from an artistic point of view, but regarding cleanliness and lack of disease, licences and business permits, and any possible complaints by former customers. Then, think again. What seems “cool” when you’re eighteen may not seem that way when you hit your upper years, with wrinkles, sagging body parts and liver spots obscuring the design.

Other reasons to beware of just any old tattoo parlor include the chance of receiving such bonuses as Hepatitis C, AIDS/HIV, and any variety of other germs that could end your life. If, after all these threats are considered, you still want to be tattooed, keep checking for recalls like this one. If it happens once, it can always happen again. In the meantime, observe how others react to their fresh tattoos and seek their advice as to which artist is reliable and reputable.

For the list from the FDA of the exact products, with serial numbers, descriptions, etc., under recall, see this link:

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm404787.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Additionally, you may call the following number, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday, to find more information on this matter:

1-626-586-3485