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Tattoo Infections May be Caused by Ink, FDA Warns


September 18, 2014 — If you are thinking about getting a tattoo in the near future, watch out for bad ink. The FDA has issued a recall for contaminated ink, but they are warning that similar products are still being sold online and may be causing tattoo infections.

When inks are contaminated, infections can occur even the most sterile tattoo parlors. It is a good idea to look at the bottle of tattoo ink that your artist is using for the tattoo. If you think it is possible that the bottle is part of the recall, do not get the tattoo.

The FDA warns against getting the tattoo if the ink bottle has a dragon logo, does not have any brand or logo, or lacks a name of a manufacturer or distributor and their address. The recalled products were sold in single bottles and also in kits online. They may or may not be marked with “Best By,” Lot, Batch, or “Date Produced” information.

The recall affects products from White & Blue Lion, Inc., and 8Decades, but the FDA is concerned that the same manufacturer is selling inks through other distributors.

The FDA warns:

“If you recently got a tattoo, body art or permanent make-up and are experiencing redness, swelling, weeping wounds, blemishes or excessive pain at the site, seek medical care right away.”

In the last few years, there have been several outbreaks of bacterial infections linked to contaminated tattoo inks. While minor infections are treatable with antibiotics, but they may disfigure the tattoo and leave scarring. Severe infections can enter the bloodstream and cause life-threatening sepsis.

FDA testing of unopened bottles has detected multiple strains of bacteria, including Bacillus spp., Acinetobacter spp., Staphylococcus haemolyticus, and Sphingomonas paucimobilis.


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