After an outbreak of infected tattoos has affected at least 19 people in Rochester, New York, we’re probably going to be seeing some laws changed about the manufacturing of ink.
Dirty needles, unsanitary conditions and bad aftercare aren’t to blame for the infections. It’s the ink itself.
Doctors who’ve examined the infections say the water used to dilute the ink by manufacturers was probably unsterile. The bacteria found in the ink are common in tap water and caused some super-nasty, itchy blisters loaded with stinky goo.
We’ve always known the standard procedures to avoid infection: making sure the shop you’re at is up to code (they’ll usually have a certificate displayed) and that the artist is prepping your skin properly, using sterile equipment, etc. If you’re in a legit place, you probably don’t need to worry too much.
But now, this ink thing. As of now, the laws are kind of shady.
In the States, the FDA considers tattoo ink a “cosmetic” and it must be produced in a controlled environment. However, manufacturers aren’t required to submit safety data of their products and there is no official stamp, seal or certificate to confirm that the ink has gone through testing processes.
That will probably be changed due to the recent outbreak that has shined some light on the issue. For now, if you’re really worried about it, the best thing to do is ask where they got the ink. If they seem a bit unprofessional, it’s probably not a good idea to be there in the first place.