FDA and CDC warn of tainted tattoo ink

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma speaks about "The Safe Body Art Act," which she introduced and went into effect in California on July 1, 2012.

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Drawing in $2 billion dollars a year, the tattoo industry has reached staggering heights—even your neighborhood grocer is living in a world of permanent ink. Recently, however, the FDA and the CDC warned that there is no law or regulation requiring tattoo inks to be sterile. The inks are considered to be a cosmetic, which means that ink manufacturers must use pre-market approved ingredients, but little attention is paid to the ink once it’s been mixed. Last week, doctors in Rochester, New York, diagnosed a young man with a “a persistant granulomatous rash,” caused by an organism affectionately called Mycobacterium Chelonae, which the CDC and FDA says came from tainted ink. So far, nineteen cases have been diagnosed, and while all patients have recovered, both the CDC and the FDA are calling for higher standards within the tattoo industry.


Do you have any tattoos? Will this change your mind about getting any? Do you think this will be a trend or an isolated incident?


Danny Wild, Tattoo artist at Tattoo Mania, a tattoo parlor in West Hollywood, CA

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-CA, 12th District), Speaker Pro Tempore; introduced AB 300, or “The Safe Body Art Act,” which went into effect in California on July 1, 2012.