Health Alert: Warnings Issued for Contaminated Tattoo Ink

Lawyers and tattoos have not traditionally been very closely linked.  But with tattoos becoming commonly accepted, even lawyers are getting tattoos.  But, true to our profession, we lawyers contemplate much more than what type of design we want – we think about safety, responsibility and liability.  Unfortunately, a tattoo done in unsanitary conditions or with contaminated ink or equipment can result in nasty infections that can result in scarring, serious health problems, and in extreme cases, even death.

tattoing-thumb-186x200-61412Both the FDA and the Florida Department of Health have issued recall warnings that certain contaminated tattoo inks are in circulation.  The inks are sold under the name “A Thousand Virgins” grey wash shades G1, G2 and G3 and should not be used.  The bacteria found in the recalled ink can cause an infection that could spread and become severe enough to require extensive treatment and hospitalization.

Anyone with a new tattoo should seek medical attention if they develop redness, swelling, itching, raised blemishes or pain in the tattoo area, or swollen and tender lymph nodes.  The risks associated with contaminated inks are very serious and include sepsis, an infection of the body’s blood supply which can be life-threatening.

Our advice is to think of getting a tattoo just like you would think about having out-patient surgery.  Before getting into the tattoo chair, make sure to do your homework.  Tattoo parlors are subject to routine state inspections and you can look up inspection records on the Florida Department of Health website.  So, in addition to finding a tattoo artist that does great artwork, find one that is properly licensed and insured, and maintains a safe, clean environment whose ink and equipment comes from good, reputable sources.  After getting a new tattoo, take proper care of the area and get medical attention right away if symptoms of an infection develop.

We also encourage you to report any unsafe conditions or adverse reactions by calling the Florida Department of Health at 850-245-4401.  Finally, please contact Heintz & Becker for a free consultation if you or someone in your family suffered a serious injury after getting a tattoo.

Source(s): U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “FDA Warns Tattoo Artists and Consumers Not to Use Certain Tattoo Inks”, posted August 6, 2015; Miami-Dade County Florida Department of Health, “Tattoo Product in Miami-Area Linked to Infection, Consumers Warned to Avoid Product”, posted August 6, 2015; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Think Before You Ink: Are Tattoos Safe?”, updated February 23, 2009