Thursday, August 6, 2015

FDA Warns Tattoo Artists and Consumers Not to Use Certain Tattoo Inks

Fast Facts:
  • The FDA is alerting tattoo artists and consumers that they should not use tattoo inks marketed and distributed by A Thousand Virgins, in grey wash shades labeled G1, G2, and G3 (Lot #129 exp 1/16).
  • Through testing, the agency has found bacterial contamination, including Mycobacterium chelonae, in unopened bottles of these tattoo inks. The FDA tested the inks to assist the Florida Department of Health in its investigation of an outbreak of mycobacterial infections in people who recently got tattoos.
  • On August 4, 2015, A Thousand Virgins recalled certain tattoo inks sold separately and in sets, but the FDA is concerned that artists and consumers are continuing to use these contaminated inks from their current stock. Also, tattoo products with the same lot number manufactured by A Thousand Virgins may still be available online and may be marketed by other distributors. The inks were sold in single units and in sets.
  • Artists who purchase tattoo inks and consumers who purchase tattoo inks or who seek tattooing should check the ink bottles to see if they are included in the recall. If you find inks subject to recall, place the closed bottles of ink into a plastic bag, sealing or tying off the bag to prevent leakage. Put this first bag into a second bag and tie off this bag separately. Check with your local waste management authorities for any disposal requirements in effect in your area.

What is the Problem?
FDA has identified microbiological contamination in unopened tattoo inks made by A Thousand Virgins, Inc. The tattoo inks are labeled G1, G2, and G3, indicating the shade.

FDA has tested unopened bottles of these inks and found contamination with a human pathogen, Mycobacterium chelonae, as well as Microbacterium organisms, and the molds Cryptococcus albidus and members of the Penicillium genus.

FDA is warning tattoo ink manufacturers, tattoo artists and consumers not to use these tattoo inks that are contaminated or have been recalled.

What are the Symptoms of Illness/Injury?
When tattoo ink contaminated with mycobacteria is injected into the skin, the bacteria can cause an infection that remains at the site or that may spread throughout the body. Such infection might result in redness; swelling; itching; raised pink, red, or purple blemishes in the tattoo; or pain in the tattoo that does not go away. If you have these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment. You may also notice swollen and tender lymph nodes, at sites local and distant to the infected tattoo.

These infections can be severe and may require extensive treatment with antibiotics, hospitalization, or surgery. Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening body-wide infection of the blood, has been reported in cases of injection of contaminated tattoo inks. Once the infection has healed, the area may remain permanently scarred.

Who is at Risk?
Because tattooing involves injecting ink under the skin, the use of contaminated inks may lead to an infection. People with pre-existing medical conditions, including heart or circulatory disease, diabetes, or patients with compromised immune systems, are particularly vulnerable.

What Do Consumers and Tattoo Artists Need To Do?
Consumers and tattoo artists should know where their materials come from and should be able to identify and remove the contaminated inks described above. If you have used these inks and adverse events occur, contact the manufacturer and the FDA. Tattoo artists should not dilute inks with tap water, distilled water, filtered water, reverse osmosis water, or other non-sterile water that has the potential to be contaminated. In addition, consumers and tattoo artists should purchase inks from reputable manufacturers who source their ink ingredients appropriately and can attest to using good manufacturing practices. If you are a tattoo artist and are applying body art, advise your clients to monitor the application site closely and seek medical care if they notice redness, swelling, itching, bumps, or blemishes, or have pain in the tattoo site that does not go away. Please also inform your clients that they should be alert for rashes and inflamed tattooed areas beyond the normal healing period, as well as any tender lymph nodes, even those that are not near the tattoo. Please ask your clients to contact you, the artist, if they experience any of these symptoms, so you may remove the potentially contaminated ink from use. They should also seek medical care for their symptoms.

People with infected tattoos and tattoo artists whose clients notify them of potentially infected tattoos can report adverse events or side effects through the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

What Do the Contaminated Products Look Like?
The front panel of the label bears a circular logo with the name of the manufacturer, “A Thousand Virgins.” Centered within the circle are G1, G2, or G3, indicating the particular shade of grey wash ink.  Bottles are marked as Lot #129 with an expiration date of 1/16. The contaminated inks are sold singly and in sets of three or four bottles.

Where are they Distributed?
The tattoo inks and tattoo kits are sold online by A Thousand Virgins, at tattoo conventions and through other websites.

What is FDA doing about the Problem?
The FDA is working with A Thousand Virgins to recall the contaminated inks and is investigating to determine how they became contaminated. The FDA and the Florida Department of Health will provide more information as it becomes available.

How can I Report a Problem?
Adverse events (bad reactions) related to the use of FDA-regulated products can be reported through the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program by:
For More Information:


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Australia: Hepatitis Victoria’s 'Hep hero' John Kenney presses point

“Listen, or learn the hard way.” That’s the message hepatitis survivor John Kenney has for Brimbank’s young people about disease prevention.

The 59-year-old is one of Hepatitis Victoria’s ‘Hep Heroes’. Something of a human canvas, he uses his striking body art to promote the importance of needle hygiene.

Recent figures from Hepatitis Victoria show Brimbank had the highest rate of hepatitis B diagnosis in Victoria in 2012 and the second- highest number of hepatitis C diagnoses.

Read more....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tat's not right! Impulse inking gave carefree woman life-threatening hepatitis C

A RASH decision in her 20s gave Teresa Jacques hepatitis C and eventually threatened her life

AT the time Teresa Jacques thought having a tattoo of a flower on her shoulder would be fun. It was 1979, she was in her mid–20s and recently single following a divorce. The former hotel receptionist didn't give a second thought to any possible risks but looking back, she now shudders at the state of the studio in King's Cross, London.

"It wasn't very clean," says Teresa. "I can still remember the tattooist dipping the needles in a glass of Scotch and shouting 'Next!' I regretted it immediately because it hurt so much."

Later, in 1993, when Teresa decided to give blood for the first time to mark her 40th birthday, the tattoo came back to haunt her.




Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beware a holiday pedi may leave you with hep C

High risk in the Asia-Pacific region

Getting a tattoo, a bellybutton ring or even a pedicure can seem a great idea while on holiday, but you may end up bringing home something more sinister than just some body ink or brightly coloured nails.

Experts working in the area of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) are predicting a jump in the number of people contracting the viruses overseas because of the types of activities Australians are enjoying abroad.

“What we want all Australians to know before they head off on their overseas holiday is that any activity in which the skin is pierced can lead to infection with hepatitis – and, yes, that can include pedicures, tattoos and piercings, and even getting dental work done abroad,” Hepatitis Australia’s CEO Helen Tyrell says. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Get More Than Just a Tattoo


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Inks Used in Certain Tattoo Kits Cause Infections

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became aware of a problem after testing inks in home use tattoo kits marketed by White and Blue Lion, Inc. FDA has confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened bottles of the company’s inks.

According to Linda Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, using these inks for tattoos could cause infection. “FDA has confirmed one case of skin infection involving a consumer that used this company’s tattoo products,” Katz says, “and we are aware of other reports linked to tattoo products with similar packaging.”


Saturday, August 2, 2014

At the sharp end

Home tattooists are the new front line of a rapidly morphing war against hepatitis C. There is no vaccine for the disease which is causing liver cancer at an alarming rate. Otago hep C patients, tattoo artists and health advocates are among those calling for nationwide changes that could see this long-stigmatised virus eradicated within our lifetime, writes Bruce Munro. 

Angela Stenersen is about to begin a year-long treatment to try to rid her body of hepatitis C. The trainee Dunedin photographer will be taking daily doses of drugs so powerful she will not be able to study. It is the price she is paying for going under the gun of a home tattooist.

On 37-year-old skin that has been the canvas for plenty of elaborate body art, the small Rolling Stones tongue and lips tattoo is as amateurish as it is seemingly innocuous.

Read more....