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Categories: Bloodborne pathogens

tattooed shouldersBody art…. This may seem like an odd topic for a science blog, but not when you consider the artists’ risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Body art is popular and growing with an estimated 16,000 body artists working in the U.S. today. Body art, which typically consists of tattoos and body piercings, is an art form where the artists’ canvas is the human body.

When working on this unique medium, artists may come in contact with a client’s blood if they are stuck with the needle that they are using on a client (or stuck with a used needle during disposal), or if the client’s blood splashes into the eyes, nose, or mouth. Contact with another person’s blood may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These bloodborne pathogens can be dangerous and may cause permanent illness. If an artist gets one of these viruses, he or she may become ill and be unable to support his or her family. Also, since bloodborne pathogens can be spread through contact with blood and other bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions, sexual partners could also be at risk of getting a bloodborne disease.

In the early 1990s as the body art industry grew, professional associations were formed to promote better business practices in the industry and address safety and health issues. Because of concerns voiced by artists in the industry, NIOSH researchers visited several tattooing and piercing studios and found certain practices used in body piercing and tattooing could increase the chance of an artist coming in contact with blood. NIOSH met with many of the tattooing and piercing professional organizations, other government agencies, scientists and the artists themselves to learn more about body art work practices and what could be done to lower artists’ chance of exposure to bloodborne diseases.

To lower exposure to blood, NIOSH recommends using safe work practices and staying informed about problems affecting body artists. Recommendations for protecting tattoo artists and body piercers from bloodborne pathogens can be found on the NIOSH Body Art web page. A few examples include:

  • Seek emergency medical assistance if an artist is exposed to another person’s blood. If a tattooist or piercer is exposed to another person’s blood, the artist should notify the shop owner and immediately seek medical attention. If treatment is needed, it is more likely to be effective if it begins soon after the exposure happens.
  • Use single-use, disposable needles and razors. Disposable piercing needles, tattoo needles, and razors are used on one person and then thrown away. Reusing needles or razors is not safe.
  • Safely dispose of needles and razors. Used needles and razors should be thrown away in a sharps disposal container to protect both the client and the person changing or handling the trash bag from getting cut. Sharps disposal containers must be closeable, puncture resistant, leak-proof, and labeled.
  • Wash hands before and after putting on disposable gloves. Gloves are always worn while working with equipment and clients, changed when necessary, and are not reused.
  • Clean and sterilize reusable tools and equipment. Some tools and equipment can be reused when tattooing or piercing. Reusable tools and equipment should be cleaned and then sterilized to remove viruses and bacteria.
  • Frequently clean surfaces and work areas. Chairs, tables, work spaces, and counters should be disinfected between procedures to protect both the health of the client and the artist. Cross-contamination (spreading bacteria and viruses from one surface to another) can occur if surfaces are not disinfected frequently and between clients. Any disinfectant that claims to be able to eliminate the tuberculosis germ can also kill HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses. Use a commercial disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or a mixture of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

Body artists face unique risks for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, but when proper safety and health practices are followed, these risks can be greatly reduced.

Everett Lehman, M.S., M.B.A., is a supervisory epidemiologist in NIOSH’s Industrywide Studies Branch in the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations & Field Studies.

Amy Mobley, M.S., Health Communications Fellow Industrywide Studies Branch in the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations & Field Studies.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. February 5, 2008 at 3:48 am ET  -   JD

    Tatoo arists are at risk for HIV, Hep B & C…..

    and so are their clients

    They need to be beter regulatd and their “studios” inspected similar to health care facilities that handle blood.

    The same can be said for piercers

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  2. February 6, 2008 at 9:33 am ET  -   Timaly Miller

    I am grateful that NIOSH is really investigating the issue regarding body piercing because I really dont believe that people understand the dangers or risk involved if the source is not meticulous in placing customer safety first. Thanks

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  3. February 7, 2008 at 11:12 pm ET  -   Victoria Marino

    As a avid body piercer, I know that I never really thought of the potential danger I faced. I think its great that NIOSH is taking action to ensure the safety of both the client and artist.

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  4. October 2, 2008 at 1:43 am ET  -   Valerie Lizzie

    Before anyone decides to have any form of body art done, they should always research the studio and artist. You must always take precautions no matter what.

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  5. October 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm ET  -   Gretchen Walton

    I am a collector of tattoos since 1990. I had an artist in mind of whom I believed I could ‘trust’. Now that I got the work, I am concerned about his sterility practices of the tubes the needles go in, he was “apprenticing” my fiance for a minute til we got bored w/him but I realized he is not using an autoclave & just scrubs the tubes w/409 cleaner and places them back in his toolbox. I am truly concerned for my life and plan to do something about it. Please help me understand what to do next.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT October 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      You are a very alert tattoo client! It is highly recommended that customers be aware of the work practices of their tattoo artists, in particular, their sterilization procedures. You are correct that since the tubes could become contaminated with blood or other body fluids, they should be first cleaned in a germicidal solution and then sterilized in an autoclave. If you are concerned about your personal risk of infection, you should consult your personal doctor or local or state health department about being tested for hepatitis B, C, and/or HIV. The CDC has a link to the state health departments at the following site: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/international/relres.html. You could also discuss your concerns about the artist’s sterilization practices with someone at the health department. The CDC has a couple of other websites that you could review for more information about body art and the risk of infection:
      http://www.cdc.gov/Features/BodyArt/
      http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/qa27.htm

      The Body Art Guidebook, published by the National Environmental Health Association, also provides extensive information about body art sterilization and infection control practices.

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  6. October 16, 2008 at 6:09 am ET  -   Bianca.Samantha

    I think its really great that there is this kind of awareness out there for piercers. I didn’t know that the dangers were so great for them. These kind of safety procedures not only help out the piercers but they help keep the client clean and safe as well!

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  7. October 18, 2008 at 12:40 pm ET  -   Stephanie Bustamante

    I am a grad student at ODU studying risk analysis. I found your site about body art very interesting. I wasn’t aware that there was such a large risk of blood borne pathogen disease among the body artists themselves. Looking into the topic a little more I also discovered that not all States regulate tattoo parlors. If there is an increased risk of spreading disease among tattoo parlors why is it that this industry isn’t regulated at the federal level, why are regulation policies being left to the States to decide? Since not every state has a regulation program in place what is NIOSH doing about spreading risk awareness to as many businesses as possible so that workers may stay protected? The last statement on your site says that when proper safety practices are followed the risk of blood borne pathogens is greatly reduced. My last question is by how much is exposure reduced? Have there been studies done that demonstrated before and after effects of safe work practices?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT October 24, 2008 at 1:36 pm ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      These are some really great questions. I will do my best to answer each of them for you. I should note here that my answers will refer to the risk of exposure as it relates to the artist, not the risk that may apply to the client from getting a tattoo or body piercing. Our agency studies workers, not clients.

      Q. I wasn’t aware that there was such a large risk of blood borne pathogen disease among the body artists themselves.
      A. I’m not sure that any study has found that body artists have “a large risk” of getting a bloodborne disease. Our study, and most others that I have seen, looked at the artists’ risk of “exposure” to blood and thereby also bloodborne pathogens. We did not study the actual disease risk of body artists and I do not know of other studies that have looked at that. That would be a much more complex and difficult study. Our goal is to reduce the chances of exposure to artists. Significantly reducing on-the-job exposures to blood would significantly reduce the risk of contracting a bloodborne disease (at least from work-related causes).

      Q. Looking into the topic a little more I also discovered that not all States regulate tattoo parlors. If there is an increased risk of spreading disease among tattoo parlors why is it that this industry isn’t regulated at the federal level, why are regulation policies being left to the States to decide?
      A. This industry is regulated at the national level by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)under their Blood-borne Pathogens Standard. Individual states, and sometimes counties and cities, may decide to enact additional regulations for the body art industry. Presently, about 2/3 of the states have additional body art regulations.

      Q. Since not every state has a regulation program in place what is NIOSH doing about spreading risk awareness to as many businesses as possible so that workers may stay protected?
      A. NIOSH has recently completed a health communications campaign targeted to body artists. This campaign involved:

      1.The development of a web page that addressed the issues of bloodborne pathogens exposure as they may be viewed by body artists.
      2.A nationwide mailing of three postcards, about three months apart, to all body art shops; each postcard addressed a different bloodborne risk-reduction topic.
      3.The Body Art blog.
      The post cards have also been sent to a supplier of body art materials. They were passed out at body art conferences by the National HIV Testing Mobilization Campaign and are still being distributed through one of our informal partners who conducts industry-specific infection control courses.

      Q. The last statement on your site says that when proper safety practices are followed the risk of blood borne pathogens is greatly reduced. My last question is by how much is exposure reduced? Have there been studies done that demonstrated before and after effects of safe work practices?
      A. For obvious reasons, much of the work done on the risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens was conducted in the healthcare industry with healthcare workers. The “safe” work practices identified by NIOSH and OSHA emanated from the results of these studies conducted in the late 1980s and 1990s. An excellent reference for you would be the Workbook for Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating a Sharps Injury Prevention Program that is available on the CDC website. That workbook provides a lot of background about the history of occupational risk and exposure to bloodborne pathogens as well as references to many studies that were used to develop the recommended work practices.

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  8. December 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm ET  -   Troy Amundson

    I think we are very lucky that the government is trying to work with the industries, rather than against them. Education is the best prevention. This is excellent.

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  9. December 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm ET  -   Kitty Candelaria

    When you go to a tattoo/body piercing facility you are asking a non-medical person to practice medicine on you. Some procedures would be defined as surgery or even the practice of dentistry and sill NO government regulations.

    I would ask why no research has been done to assess the impact this industry has had on our health care crisis. Research related to unnecessary surgeries caused by the lose of oral piercings, the spread of STD’s, deformities, bacterial infections (spread of MRSA, tetnaus,etc), bloodborne infections, etc. The inks used for tattooing have NOT been approved by the FDA and their composition is in question as are the adverse reactions to them.

    The “artists” are not required to undergo a background check and yet our children are being tattooed/pierced in the most private of areas. Does government have an obligation to do more than they have? I believe so!

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  10. December 12, 2008 at 10:35 am ET  -   Laura

    IF A PERSON KNOWS THE RISK OF TATTOOS AND THEY WIND UP GETTING A DISEASE THEN IT’S THIER FAULT

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT December 22, 2008 at 8:20 am ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      Almost every job carries some risk. As a public health agency, our job is to improve the health and safety of all workers by reducing their occupational risks. Helping body artists to be more aware of their potential workplace exposures to bloodborne infection, and providing practical recommendations to reduce exposures, is the purpose behind our outreach through the blog and other means.

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  11. December 30, 2008 at 8:42 am ET  -   Les

    It is good to see that the CDC and reputable tattoo and body art shops are working together, but I was wondering if the same is true with the tattoo removal industry? While their is less of a potential for bodily fluid exposure, some of the methods for removing tattoos can lead to bleeding. I would be very interested to hear if CDC is looking into this industry.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT January 6, 2009 at 10:53 am ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      Though we have not looked at the tattoo removal industry, many of the same safe work practices recommended to body artists would also apply to the removal industry. Using these recommended safe work practices would lower the chance of exposure to blood and bloodborne illnesses.

      Link to this comment

  12. April 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm ET  -   LD

    I’m trying to find a reputable and safe tattoo shop. How can I find one in the Northern, VA / Washington DC area? I certainly have no problem doing the leg work and actually researching the shop and artist before making my selection. With so many shops in the area it’s hard to know where to start. Also, it is my understanding that the Washington, DC, area has a high infection rate of HIV/AIDs and Hepatitus. I want to use all precaution possible when selecting a shop.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT April 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      The Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT) is “a nonprofit educational organization that was founded in 1992 to address the health and safety issues facing the tattoo industry.” Tattooists can apply to become a member of this organization. APT focuses on educating and advocating for safety and health in the tattooing industry. Because of this, tattooists who are APT members are generally very knowledgeable about safe work practices. To read more about the organization, and to find artists in your area who are APT members, visit their website. The website also gives tips for choosing an artist and notes things your artist should do to ensure both your safety.

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  13. July 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm ET  -   Kylee Baker

    I like this conversation, these are all valid concerns, and here in BC Canada, there are so little rules and regulations, they follow that of a hair salon, when we do so much more to the body. I am an environmental and occupational health officer and own a tattoo CLINIC. First of its Kind anywhere. We saw there was a need to change the mold of this industry. We must meet and exceed the standards of a hospital, as we are comparably intrusive. I bring to your attention another topic. Long term health effect of the tattoo artist when it comes to MSIs. This industry’s workstations design violates every rule and common sense.

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  14. July 26, 2009 at 9:11 am ET  -   Darren Bassett

    This is a great way to educate people in the common sense and hygiene that they need to know if they are going to have needles poked in them.

    I was a tattoo artist for many years and had a close call with Hepatitis when the gun slipped and tore my glove. This spun my world around in a matter of days, but not just for myself but for my family too!

    I have since moved on to a needleless method for applying bodyart, safe for everybody concerned and isn’t permanent either. The monetary concern is addressed as each tattoo takes just a few minutes so I can charge much less for my time which opens it up people with less money.

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  15. October 1, 2009 at 9:39 am ET  -   Peter

    I like this topic! Comments are very informational.

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  16. October 10, 2009 at 10:30 am ET  -   RD

    As in many cases, Common Sense is very important. If the establishment looks “dirty” or in question, simply turn around and leave!No one is obligated in the least to get a tattoo just because they come through the door! Another Common sense line of defense is ask the establishments owner or manager to see a copy of their environmental health departments certification sheet checking the date of last inspection to make sure it is current and up to date. Ask to see the artists tattoo permit,ask he or she how long they have been tattooing, look at portfolio’s as well to make sure the artist is capable of doing “clean and quality” tattoos. Also ask to see that all materials and disposables used in the tattoo/piercing procedure(needles, ink caps, tubes, ink being poured into a new container) be opened up in front of you before the tattoo procedure begins. If you walk into the tattoo/piercing room and everything has already been opened up, then I would indeed question that artists capability,and knowledge of proper tattoo/piercing procedures and leave. If your state or county does not have those guidelines, then maybe one would be wise to seek out another state or county within their geographic region that does carry and “enforce” those guidelines. Just a thought. and by the way……Yes I am an Artist…..And do Practice those guidelines daily with out hesitation!

    The sad thing about common sense is, maybe it is not so “common”, otherwise more people would have it.

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  17. October 12, 2009 at 11:58 am ET  -   Festményes

    regarding body piercing because I really dont believe that people understand the dangers or risk involved if the source is not meticulous in placing customer safety first. I think its great that NIOSH is taking action to ensure the safety of both the client and artist. You must always take precautions no matter what.

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  18. November 8, 2009 at 9:15 am ET  -   David

    I’ve been to a lot of tattoo studios in Sweden (where I’m from) and I must say, it’s hard to find any where you feel “safe”. Most of them feels really dirty, but still people go there. It rally scares me, when thinking about HIV and Hepatitus. It seems like anyone can open a studio and nobody is checking them up. Even restaurants are checked harder than tattoo studios and artists!

    David Sahlstrom
    Shoulder Tattoo Designs

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  19. November 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm ET  -   youhuge

    While all this talk of government regulation is good and healthy, pun intended, the more important point is that there are risks involved here. And beyond just being regulated, for their own sakes, tatoo artists and their clients should take precautions and protect themselves from life threatening illness…It was enlightening to read and will make me think more about where I am willing to have my canvas painted on!!!

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  20. November 25, 2009 at 8:15 am ET  -   Steve

    The artist’s risk is significant and should not be underestimated. The tattoo studio that puts safety at a premium will be the studio that wins.

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  21. December 8, 2009 at 6:04 pm ET  -   Mike

    Good Aricle. I generally think that common sense SHOULD prevail but often it is less than common. A Tattoo practitioner must be aware at all times what is going on and sadly, this is not the case. I am in favour of stringent rules and health regulations with tattoo parlours and most tattooists get the picture. One must keep in mind if you are SICK, there will be no appreciation of the beauty of a tattoo. Health must come first. Thank-you for your further investigation.

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  22. December 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm ET  -   Adam Konsal

    it’s really a shame they are not inspected. Just like food establishments they go through inspections to food in your body. what about metal piercings that go into your body?

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  23. December 22, 2009 at 11:22 am ET  -   emjohn

    Maybe there should be better standrads but on the removal side…just as many precautions should be in place.

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  24. December 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm ET  -   elise

    This site is really useful and could have help to alert ppl in the tattoo industry. I have got a tattoo done on my arm recently and i dont know if the tattoo shop/ tattooist has comply with any hygiene or health standards in the workplace. And also, I’m doing a research in the level of compliance for the tattoo shops and come out with a questionairre. I wonder is there any existing standard/legal/references/regulation for those tattooist to comply with ?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT January 8, 2009 at 7:44 am ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      This is a great question. Because regulations vary widely among federal, state, and local governments, this can be confusing for tattooists, piercers and clients. Body artists are required to follow the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. Most states and many local governments regulate whether shops are in compliance with the standard. Often these states and localities have additional regulations that artists need to follow. Those interested should check with their state, county and city health departments for information about additional regulations relating to body art. The NIOSH body art website will be updated in the near future with links to state body piercing and tattooing regulations.

      For more information about the OSHA standard visit:
      http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10051 .

      For more information about the enforcement of these standards, visit:
      http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=2570# .

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  25. May 31, 2010 at 3:49 am ET  -   Christopher Caruso

    I owned a tattoo shop for a while and can tell you that the industry is not regulated like a doctors office. We had an inspector come into our shop once in the year that it was open.

    I would like to see a global standard put in place. I have a pretty successful tattoo forum at [http://www.supplytattoo.com] where users discuss various tattoo related topics. This is an interesting one. I don’t think we’ll ever come to an agreement on what is too safe – but I think we can all agree when we see a shop that is flying below the radar.

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  26. August 20, 2010 at 11:58 am ET  -   provestra

    I would not do it on my body if this is the case!

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  27. August 29, 2010 at 6:50 am ET  -   Peaches

    There are dodgy practitioners in many professions and unless you do your background research you may well put yourself in risky situations.

    Through my research within the tattoo industry I discovered there is still a very high occurrence of people getting inked through spontaneous decisions.

    We believe a ‘cooling off’ period should be made compulsory for all tattoo parlors where the practice of ‘walk-in’ procedures are prohibited.

    It is all well and good putting regulations in place but unless you are able to properly police the tattooing industry there will always be room for the ‘fly-by-night’ operators to flourish.

    Consumers must show a degree of common sense when making any kind of purchase, a cooling-off period would enable people to properly research the artist, the parlor and discuss their decision with family or friends.

    We do have a site [www.tattooissues.com] that provides more information on this subject.
    Peaches

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  28. August 29, 2010 at 7:46 am ET  -   Mike D.

    It is good to see that the CDC and reputable tattoo and body art shops are working together, but I was wondering if the same is true with the tattoo removal industry? While their is less of a potential for bodily fluid exposure, some of the methods for removing tattoos can lead to bleeding. I would be very interested to hear if CDC is looking into this industry.

    Link to this comment

  29. October 23, 2010 at 11:27 am ET  -   John

    It would be interesting to see some statistics on the hazards of tattooing. Is HIV and hepatitis a real risk for people wanting a tattoo today?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT November 19, 2010 at 11:58 am ET  -   Everett Lehman and Amy Mobley

      Little information is available that addresses how likely it is that a person could contract a bloodborne virus through tattoos and/or piercings. Decades ago, tattooing was associated with syphilis, tuberculosis and other bacterial infections, in addition to hepatitis.1 Today, artists are becoming increasingly aware of the need for infection control, though not all artists are applying these practices in their shops.2 Most regulated and professional tattooists work to avoid exposing themselves and their clients to these viruses, though unregulated artists who work out of their home, etc. may not use good infection control practices.3

      A recent study points out that the association with hepatitis is well-known enough that a person must wait a year after getting a new tattoo or piercing to donate blood to ensure they did not contract a bloodborne virus from the procedure.3 Some case reports have documented transmission of bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), through tattooing.4 Staph, Strep and Pseudomonas infections have all been linked to piercing procedures.5

      Artists who practice good infection control will keep themselves and their clients safe from being exposed to bloodborne viruses and bacterial infections. For more information about topics related to infection control among tattooists and piercers, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/body_art/

      1.Long GE, Rickman LS. Infectious complications of tattoos. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 1994; 18:610-619.
      2.Raymond MJ, Pirie PL, Halcon LL. Infection control among professional tattooists in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Public Health Reports. 2001;116:249-256.
      3.Messahel A, Musgrove B. Infective complications of tattooing and skin piercing. Journal of Infection and Public Health. 2009; 2:27-13.
      4.CDC. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Skin Infections Among Tattoo Recipients — Ohio, Kentucky, and Vermont, 2004—2005. MMWR 2006; 55(24):677-679.
      5.Tweeten SS, Rickman LS. Infectious complications of body piercings. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 1998; 26(3): 735-740.

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  30. November 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm ET  -   Dave@http://tattoo-designs-and-more.com/

    I agree that we are fortunate to have the government trying to work with the tattoo and body modification industries, rather than against them. This is a good article.

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  31. December 8, 2010 at 7:35 am ET  -   amanda

    Although I think that a lot of tattoos are extremely artistic. I feel you should think before you ink. Maybe a temporary tattoo would be the better choice.
    Thanks for the article.

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  32. April 7, 2011 at 2:03 am ET  -   Brent Howell

    I worked in the trade of tattooing for 17 years and had to retire early due to heart problems. The problem with the tattoo world is not everyone is on the same page. There are many regulations for tattooing state to state. And I have talked to alot of these health inspectors and they are a lot of them in the dark when it comes to the tattoo trade.

    For one I don’t understand why someone already has not suggested on using UV black lights to inspect work stations in tattoo shops, If you are not a tattoo artist yourself you don’t realize that a tattoo artist uses petroleum products to keep a stencil from wiping off skin while tattoo artist puts it on. All along the petroleum product that is being applied to client is getting contaminated with blood. And after tattoo is over with if you checked surfaces with U.V light you would understand what I am talking about. Every thing you touched with these contaminated petroleum soil gloves would light up like a chrismas tree under U.V light. So if you check with a UV light to look for petroleum smears on surfaces with UV light if found you are looking at contaminated petroleum/blood contaminated smears on surface of tattoo artist work area. And the reason I suggest UV lighting is that petroleum product pick up super well and could be a powerful tool for inspectors if applied.

    I have worked around a lot other Tattoo Artist and you would be shocked that alot of tattoo artist do not even wipe down tattoo machine with tattoocide or discide. Why tattoocide or discide because tattoo machines are made out of metal and can rust and also have electrical parts on them them that can’t get wet with bleach water or anything else with water.

    bleach causes them to rust. That is why you need something like tattoocide or discide because they are alchol based and will not rust parts of tattoo machine and kills blood born pathegens at same time.

    During the tattoo process little spect of ink hit on the bottom side of armature bar of tattoo machine head while tattooing and these areas of the machine need to be wiped down with tattoocide rather than alchol or green soap that doesn’t kill anything.

    And to top it off rubberbands on tattoo machine heads are not getting changed to new one every tattoo. A lot of tattoo artist don’t realize that rubberbands get contaminated with gloves removing needle bar. But a lot of tattoo artist pull them over top binding post to reuse them again. And when they set up the next tattoo they are contaminating the next client.

    That is why it is important to change rubberbands on tattoo machine with new ones each client.

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  33. April 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm ET  -   Patrick

    I agree with Troy Amundson “I think we are very lucky that the government is trying to work with the industries, rather than against them. Education is the best prevention.” It is the best prevention but also understanding the artist and the way in which they carry out their work. My local tattoo artist goes by the name of Bloodpainter.

    He went to a recent tattoo expo where he was scheduled to paint in his own blood, not quite body art but in some way it kind of is. He just used his body (his own blood) to paint with. Anyway, the story goes he was told he would not be allowed to paint at the expo by the local government health and safety officers because he would be exposing the community to bloodborne pathogens. But that was not the case. The officers were stuck in that stereotype of that anything out of the ordinary must be “bad” or looked down upon. In fact the tattoo artists would be exposing the community to more bloodborne pathogens. Anyway enough ranting and raving about it, i was just trying to provide an example where the general public and people in government positions of power need to step back understand and then act. Not act the understand….

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  34. June 15, 2011 at 11:10 am ET  -   Piercing general

    Education is the best prevention. I’m totally with you

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  35. June 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm ET  -   Vicki

    well, as a avid client to the tattoo office/piercers. I like to walk in first and inspect the rooms if you will to make sure I am not putting my body at risk. look at there stations see if they are clean if there is ANYTHING that might make it look questionable to me as a client. I work in the medical field so it is a unusal habbit of mine to inspect public places. :)…. I am not only very into this article here but I am going to be sharing it with my college class as well.

    I know people who have contracted certain diseases from neglect (unproper cleaning). Just sweeping the floor could make a difference to most shops.

    I have walked in and walked out of places because of how they smell, look, and there equipment.

    I also have been a piercer in a past life, so the fear of getting poked was always in the back of my mind. Thinking what if this client jerks and BAM there I go. At least now I have the knowledge and commen sense to look before I talk to anyone. I tell lots of my family members for there first tattoo/piercing to take a check list in and make sure EVERYTHING is on this list. :)

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  36. November 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm ET  -   Erling

    I’d like to say Thank You to NIOSH for conducting research by visiting several tattooing and piercing studios. Indeed the health and safety precaution is more important rather than the beauty itself.

    Link to this comment

  37. December 27, 2011 at 10:26 am ET  -   Leighton Darwin

    Expressing yourself through your body can be fun, but some of that fun is permanent. It is important to think about your motivation, options, choices, and the consequences of body art. Talk to people, seek out information. Never make decisions quickly!

    Link to this comment

  38. January 31, 2012 at 1:22 am ET  -   Black Latex Gloves

    I think body art is a fantastic way for artists and people to express their inner thoughts. It takes great skill to be a tattoist, not only a good drawer, but a very attentative, creative and sturdy handed person.
    Tattoos have been around for centuries, with the dynamics changing and the artwork more creative.

    I often wonder why more people don’t just do laser for a few sessions to lighten the original tattoo(s) then goto a good tattooer to do a whole new tattoo over it as it opens up so many more options
    Never -EVER- put someone else’s name on your body, with two exceptions:

    Parents.

    or

    Children.

    Link to this comment

  39. February 13, 2012 at 11:57 am ET  -   Lladro@Swarovski Figurines

    I am glad that we look at the health risks of tattoos however I would not want the federal government to decide what is art and ban tattoos.

    The CDC should monitor and guide but let us keep some personal freedoms.

    Thanks for listening

    Lladro

    Link to this comment

  40. June 28, 2012 at 1:43 am ET  -   larelst

    I’d like to say Thank You to NIOSH for conducting research by visiting several tattooing and piercing studios. Indeed the health and safety precaution is more important rather than the beauty itself.

    Link to this comment

  41. September 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm ET  -   Deb Cooper

    Great topic and discussion. I would like safety information regarding polymer clay jewelry for stretched earlobes, particularly after the industry reformulation eliminating phthalates in 2008/2009. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Link to this comment

  42. May 7, 2013 at 3:35 am ET  -   Randy Holder

    There exist a critical health & safety concerning in the tattoo business, ”Cross Contamination of bloodborne pathogens.

    Occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material is part of the tattooing procedure, gloves that are potentially contaminated with bloodborne pathogens handle the following Reusable instruments: Tattoo Machines, Clip cords, Power supplies, Wash Bottles, prep-station, arm/leg rest.

    Reusable instruments are not being handled properly in many tattoo business. While we use gloves to help protect both the tattooist and the client during a tattoo procedure is does not prevent cross over contamination that occurs from using the same instruments over and over from one client to another.

    We can use new sterilized needles and tubes and gloves, single use ink, paper towels and still transmit disease from client to client. Without strict “Decontamination of these instruments, which means the use of physical or chemical means to remove, inactivate, or destroy bloodborne pathogens, even a tattoo machine has many areas that could ever be effectively Decontaminated without complete disassembly.

    Any one of the items could potentially contaminate the tattooist gloves during a procedure

    All of these are used over and over without proper bio barrier products each of the is contaminated during the tattoo procedure.

    ONLY ONE break in the prevention matrix and all of the instruments become contaminated!

    There are biobarrier products that significantly reduce the risk of contamination” from blood borne pathogens on the surface of the items to the point where the item is rendered safe for handling, use, or disposal.

    There adoption of an OSHA Exposure Control Plan requiring the use of biobarrier products and Decontamination procedure for these instruments.The only solution is to require mandatory controls and a procedures to insure public safety.

    Dragon Randy Holder

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  43. January 13, 2014 at 12:53 am ET  -   Tom

    I believe that tattoo is art. However, you should know well the tattoo artist and the equipment use when you decide to do it in your body. In that way, you can prevent whatever the danger it will bring to you.

    Tom

    Link to this comment

  44. January 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm ET  -   Rose Marry

    Very impressive post, Thanks for this wonderful information. I never think like this and I must say your idea is very clear in this post.

    Hair Salon Dallas

    Link to this comment

  45. February 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm ET  -   Tatspiration

    As a avid body tattooer and piercer, I never really thought of the potential danger I faced. Thanks for this article.

    Link to this comment

  46. February 14, 2014 at 5:26 am ET  -   lecotillon

    Thanks for sharing the about body art but it is too dangerous if you use the effected needle

    Link to this comment

  47. February 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm ET  -   Ryan

    Nice read. I think a lot of people overlook the health concerns/risks associated with tattooing. It can be very safe when done responsibly…and beautiful. But the proper precautions need to be taken.

    Something that is often overlooked is that if a tattoo recipient is taking medications for blood thinning, they may not want to receive a tattoo. A safer alternative may be a supplement that supports healthy circulation

    Link to this comment

  48. March 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm ET  -   Rick

    This is helpful for all those motorcycle riders out there that are thinking about getting tatted up! Read this guys.

    Link to this comment

  49. April 3, 2014 at 6:13 am ET  -   Robin Smith

    Thank you for sharing your valuable insight and perspective on this topic.

    Link to this comment

  50. April 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm ET  -   Cindy

    Great article, thanks for the post.
    There is nothing like great Art Work

    Link to this comment

  51. August 4, 2014 at 7:16 am ET  -   chuck

    Thanks for the blog, it just goes to show that you are never to old to learn new things. Tattoo are the “in” thing at the moment. And it makes good sense to check out the pro’s and con’s before you make a decsision whether to have one or not
    Thank you
    Chuck

    Link to this comment

  52. August 8, 2014 at 2:30 am ET  -   Art supplies

    Great source of useful information. Tattoos and body art become the fashion statement of youth, but no one see the harmful effects behind this. This is very useful post for tattooers. Thanks for such a valuable information.

    Link to this comment

  53. September 16, 2014 at 6:43 am ET  -   Sandy

    Education is the best prevention. I’m totally with you

    Link to this comment

  54. October 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm ET  -   agus

    Good article

    Link to this comment

  55. October 20, 2014 at 6:49 am ET  -   Zayn Malik

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information with us..

    Link to this comment

  56. October 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm ET  -   Pauline

    One should only use the best and cleanest tattoo artist. it is the best way to stay safe. Never use someone you don’t know.

    Link to this comment

  57. October 23, 2014 at 5:54 am ET  -   International Flower Delivery

    What a creative article! The body art is still taboo in some places, but it is actually nice.

    Link to this comment

  58. November 12, 2014 at 6:49 am ET  -   Krisna

    Very good article and nice.. but unfortunatelly in our religion.. islam.. tatto are forbiden.

    Link to this comment

  59. November 12, 2014 at 9:33 am ET  -   mery

    you always have to be very careful with tattoos and very well think the tattoo to be done, then come the repentant to remove some made disasters, not to mention the risks of diseases transmitted by improperly sterilized needles

    Link to this comment

  60. November 26, 2014 at 8:13 am ET  -   john

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information with us…

    WORLD AIDS DAY 2014-EVERY THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HIV AIDS+REMEDIES

    Link to this comment

  61. December 20, 2014 at 9:54 am ET  -   Hony

    Thank you for sharing such a nice information. Well tattoo on human body is also an art and specially when its on Women’s body, but yeah it should be safe and looks good

    Link to this comment

  62. January 27, 2015 at 6:08 am ET  -   Omar

    This so called “body art” must be under careful control of authorities.
    “I think we are very lucky that the government is trying to work with the industries, rather than against them. Education is the best prevention.” That is not enough for some rapid developing area. This is something like touchless trash can you can persuade someone to pay for it who is not aware of the benefit that comes with.

    Link to this comment

  63. March 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm ET  -   greg gates

    Great Informative Articles. I’m of the strong opinion that regulation and control are absolute necessities, albeit improbable. I am the owner of the Tattoo Career Website – which is a school for aspiring body artists. Its no 2 week to month long program. All that is besides the point, we recently decided to make BBP Training Free through a separate program in our educational system. Awareness is just too important to have people turning their noses up because they have to pay, and we have seen a lot of that. Scratchers or not, if they are better educated and stick to what they have learned through a good program, at the least it could be the difference between a safe procedure and spreading disease.

    The BBP Program should be fully launched by March 14, 2015, and we encourage anyone who takes part in any body modification activities to please sign up and take it. As previously stated, it is completely free and available to anyone.

    GGates

    Link to this comment

  64. March 10, 2015 at 1:09 am ET  -   Rolcontainer

    Excellent body art post. Thanks for giving great source of useful information. Tattoos and body art become the fashion

    Link to this comment

  65. March 23, 2015 at 11:54 am ET  -   Jones

    Information very useful for me…great article!

    thank you very much!

    Link to this comment

  66. May 3, 2015 at 6:54 am ET  -   Judi Bola

    That is not enough for some rapid developing area. This is something like touchless trash can you can persuade someone to pay for it who is not aware of the benefit that comes with

    Link to this comment

  67. June 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm ET  -   Julian

    Very helpful information. Definitely we have to talk more about this topic. Thank you. Julian

    Link to this comment

  68. January 14, 2016 at 4:35 am ET  -   Richad

    Really body artist are at risk but safety should be taken before work. I think every such worker should know this information.
    Very nice information.Richad

    Link to this comment

  69. February 9, 2016 at 3:34 am ET  -   shujat

    It’s such an amazing article. It’s great to know this information It gives me a new vision.

    Best Regards,

    Shujat Ali.

    Link to this comment

  70. March 14, 2016 at 12:18 am ET  -   cincin emas

    thanks information and good article

    Link to this comment

  71. April 2, 2016 at 1:23 am ET  -   anuj mishra

    Nice post ,I really like it. Thanks for share.

    Link to this comment

  72. April 27, 2016 at 6:16 am ET  -   Abbott

    Thanks for this short post. It very useful to others. Please update more often. Cheers.

    Link to this comment

  73. May 1, 2016 at 7:00 am ET  -   sone kanwar

    This is a very relevant post. Several times people, disregard a lot many aspects in favor of cheaper body art. This is comething that needs to be kept in mid.

    Link to this comment

  74. May 12, 2016 at 3:44 am ET  -   Aafiya Storemass

    Great post thanks for sharing with us…..! informative article

    Link to this comment

  75. May 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm ET  -   Tattoolover

    You have to be very careful when making a tattoo, lots of deadly diseases you can contract by accident if you do the tattoo with contaminated tools

    Link to this comment

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