Friday, August 10, 2007

I don't want to say I told you so, but the fact is that if we've ever had a conversation about tattooing, I've probably mentioned this possibility....

My favourite part of this article is where it says, "Tattooing and body piercing shops are not regulated or licensed." I'm sure if it turns out that people did get HIV, then the shop will try to claim that there's no way of proving the person didn't get it somewhere else.

Oshawa tattoo shop used dirty tools
Oshawa body art studio reopens after owners fix problems with possibly unsterilized equipment
Aug 10, 2007 04:30 AM
Carola Vyhnak
Staff Reporter

Durham Region health authorities are urging as many as 2,000 people to get a blood test for HIV and hepatitis B and C over concerns they may have been exposed to unsterile equipment at an Oshawa body art studio.

The health department said yesterday that possible use of non-sterile equipment at Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio could lead to transmission of infectious diseases. Anyone who received a tattoo or body piercing between Nov. 17, 2006, and Aug. 1 should see a doctor and be tested, said Ross MacEachern, manager of environmental health.

However, the risk of infection was "relatively low" and there was no evidence that anyone had been infected, he said.

Health inspectors closed the shop Aug. 1 after a routine visit led to "a more detailed investigation of the sterilization procedures," MacEachern said. Lab tests showed the machine used to sterilize multi-use instruments was malfunctioning on and off since November.

The store re-opened around 6 p.m. yesterday after a public health inspector gave the go-ahead, said Kim Towie, wife of owner Hugh Towie. She said five tests they were required to do last Friday all passed.

Towie said they were only aware of the machine malfunctioning early last month and a technician came out to fix it. "It was just a screw that needed adjustment. The temperature was supposed to reach 132 but it only got to 128."

She said the studio has never had a problem during 16 years in business. "We are a very clean shop. We scrub our tools thoroughly and sterilize everything. Our customers are number one."

It was the first time Durham authorities had closed a tattoo shop, MacEachern said, adding that such establishments are inspected at least once a year and usually more often. "Anything we deem to be an immediate risk to the public ... we close the place."

The owner is responsible for testing sterilizers monthly and keeping records to show health inspectors, according to MacEachern.

Tattooing and body piercing shops are not regulated or licensed.

The health department is working with the studio's owner to contact an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 clients, who will be urged to see a doctor "even if you are well."

MacEachern said anyone who received services from the Centre St. N. studio should call the health department "so we can provide information on the recommended follow-up tests required to help rule out any blood-borne diseases."

The Durham Region health department can be reached at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.


Px said...

the uk regulates and licenses both tattooing and piercing parlours

Tokyo Tintin said...

I saw this story in Metro today and just knew you were going to have a blog post about it!

Jennifer said...

PX, it's a good idea. Do the tattoo parlours have to pay for all the administration costs associated with the regulation? Or is that cost borne by the tax payer?
TT, of course, I'd be sad to think that you would read a story like this and not think of me.