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News: Bad Tattoo Ink One Reason to Rethink That Tat
An outbreak of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (aka NTM) infections found on recently healed tattoos is spreading across the United States. Investigators believe a California-based tattoo ink manufacturer is where the contamination began.
Tattoos won’t just piss off parents, they might also cause some nasty infections. NTM-infections usually crop up as itchy, red bumps surrounding a recently acquired tattoo and if left untreated can lead to lung disease eye, joint, and lymphatic system complications. Reports of NTM-infected tattoos began pouring in last January from New York, Washington, Colorado, and Iowa. The investigation was conducted by the FDA in cooperation with local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Don’t worry, this isn’t an ink-apocalypse. Most of the infections came from one California supplier who had contaminated inks. Epidemiologists think NTM got into the ink through unsanitary water, glycerin, or pigment, which was added in the production process.
But the scariest part about the current NTM outbreak is that, to the naked eye, contaminated tattoo ink is barely discernible from its sterile counterpart. Sound bad? Well…
The Good News
Those who receive immediate medical attention for their NTM-infected tattoo woes won’t develop further NTM-associated complications. Anyone who sees signs of NTM-infection on their own or others’ tattoos should get to the doc ASAP and report their cases to MedWatch.
Already Inked? Here’s what to look for:
- Lesions, rashes, swelling, itching, burning, or pain in or around the tattooed area that develops two to three weeks after getting tattooed.
- More severe symptoms include coughing, fevers, loss of appetite and energy, night sweats, weight loss, and blood in phlegm. Blech!
Gonna Get One Anyway?
- Ask tattoo artists if they use ink that has been processed or formulated with FDA-approved pigments.
- Stick to green and blue pigments. They’re made from copper salts, the safest ingredients for ink. (The FDA has also approved copper salts for use in contact lenses, paint, and surgical implants.)
- Avoid red pigments — they’re most likely to cause allergic reactions, due to the cadmium and mercury they contain.
- Verify your artist has been vaccinated against Hepatitis.
- Get the tattoo artist to open an autoclave (the sterile bag new needles and tattoo ink cups arrive in) in front of you.
- Make sure the artist puts on new gloves if they walk away from the tattooing process at any time or if they pick up anything other than sterilized equipment.
Have you ever had complications from a tattoo? Share your story in the comments below.
Comments Leave a comment
yeah, i think i'm a victim! got the tatt on August 17th. 1st complained about problems to guy that colored a black tribal sun over an old orange tatt. in 2 weeks he tried to make the color more uniform. it went worse from there. i had to sign no less than the back and front of four pages that the tatt shop/artist weren't responsible for ANYTHING!! Yeah, i maybe wasn't too smart there, but you want to trust your artist. I've got 4 other tatts with no problem and some had to have me going back for minor reasons. Anyway, i don't know whats to blame for this ugly lesion i now have. i've got an appt. with physician Thursday. Is there any other way besides have the lesion cut out and stictches?
I'm on antibiotics as well.
I will not lie but I do not like Tattoos. The one reason is that due to tattoo some times the skins become dry and useless.
I have that type of Tattoo but Now, It is remove by using some techniques. Actually, This is really a very nice website and good information and it is nice to read the information provided and such these types of websites also help to students to find the proper way for their carrier and it is better approach to carry on the education and basically concept for the return color of the good think provide by writer.thanks