Health Risks Your Tattoo Artist May Not be Telling You
Getting a tattoo could be one of the coolest way to express one’s self, but it could also put your health at serious risk if the paraphernalia used by your tattoo artist are contaminated with bacteria.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed particular concern about a family of bacteria called nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) that has been found in a recent outbreak of illnesses linked to contaminated tattoo inks. One of the several disease-causing NTM species that has been observed to be causing tattoo infection is M. chelonae which can result to lung disease, joint infection, eye problems and other organ infections.
Early this year, the FDA initiated an investigation when, through its MedWatch reporting program, found about seven people in Monroe County, New York who had nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections after getting tattoos from the same artist who used the same brand of ink on all of them. FDA later discovered twelve more people who got their tattoos from this same artist had NTM infections. Surprisingly, the NTM infection outbreak also occurred in other states including Washington, Iowa, and Colorado.
The cases observed in Washington, Iowa, and Colorado involved different NTM species or different ink manufacturers than those in New York; however, FDA learned there was a link identified between the M. chelonae infections in Washington and Iowa.
The FDA is reaching out to tattoo artists, ink and pigment manufacturers, public health officials, health care professionals, and consumers to warn them of the potential for infection. It is also encouraging people to report tattoo-associated complications to its MedWatch program in order to raise awareness campaign.Tags: tattoo health risks, tattoo ink contamination, tattoo ink risks, tattoos and health risks