Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

DIY Blood Borne Diseases

December 8th, 2008 by

We’ve heard a bit as of late on here about Scratchers and the negative effects they have on not just tattooing as an art form, but also the personal health and well being of those they tattoo.  A new article at Wales Online gives further proof to the growing cancer of unlicensed, DIY tattoos.  According to the article, full tattoo starter kits that include tattoo guns, inks and needles can be purchased offeBay for as little as 85£ ($126).  Not only is it easy to find these online deals, but the retailers of such goods are not restricting sales of the equipment to certified professionals.

 The problem seems to be a growing one in the UK, where this past September numerous teenagers were hospitalized after being tattooed at a house party in Llanelli, Wales.  Also in Llanelli, tattoo artist Dai Williams had 20 teens stop by his shop with infected “tattoos” they had received at a house party.

 “They have got bad infections because they are not using sterilised equipment,” said Williams.  “The guy who did these tattoos was using the same ink on people and tattooing 14-year-old kids on their hands.  Not only are there health issues, but it will affect these youngsters’ job prospects in the future because they have scarred, poorly tattooed hands.”

 Blame most certainly has to be laid on Scratchers and those who enable them with the necessary equipment, yet at the same time, I can’t help but point a finger at sites like eBay who allow these types of sales to take place.  This problem is not strictly endemic to the tattoo community either; it is a health issue that should be quickly corrected by government and online retailers alike.  What’s more, honest and certified tattoo artists should not have to suffer the negative associations to their art that Scratchers and their eBay purchased equipment bring.

 What’s more, I’m very curious to know why eBay needs to sell tattoo equipment.  Do licensed tattoo artists not have more reputable sources to go to for their equipment?  I would think so.  Ebay needs to step up and either put stricter regulations on its sales of tattoo gear, or discontinue the practice altogether.  I myself am not a tattoo artist, but it pisses me off to know that any idiot with the ability to draw a circle and Internet access can be etching ink into people’s flesh in a matter of weeks.  You know that saying about one rotten apple spoiling the whole bunch?  Well that’s definitely what’s going on here.  Here’s hoping that things will start changing soon.


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