Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Caveat emptor.

September 17th, 2009 by

First off I would like to say that this is not typical behavior from Canadian tattoo artists. They happen to be some of the most conscientious artists working today. But I do have to ask myself, “WTF is going on in Edmonton?!”

Around three months ago Tattoo Blog reported the closing of Zipps Tattoo studio for unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Now most of us would pass this off as a singular event. I mean there are, and probably always will be, bad apples in any profession. As the Latin phrase goes, “Caveat emptor.” Let the buyer beware. But in the case of the art of tattoo this is your health we’re talking about.
Now it seems that a second tattoo studio, Beauty Salon Concept Tattoo and Body Piercing store in Northgate Center, has been closed within a three month period for the exact same violations. You would think that after all the publicity surrounding Zipps closing any artists there would have cleaned up their act. Assuming of course they were practicing the same unsanitary techniques.

According to Alberta Health Services’ Jason MacDonald the studio in question was using single use needles, but they were putting those needles into tubes that had been used on the previous collector! Damn! They might as well have used the same needle! That’s akin to trying to put out a forest fire by pissing kerosene on it!

“You’re putting a clean needle into a dirty tube,” MacDonald said, noting that 120 people who went to the salon for tattoos and piercings are being advised to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C.

The risk of infection is low, but MacDonald said he closed the tattoo and piercing store immediately after walking through its doors and seeing hairs on countertops, dried ink from previous clients on equipment, a broken hand sink and an inadequate sterilization machine. Clamps and forceps used to hold skin or tongues during piercings were stored in dirty drawers.

In case you didn’t know, MacDonald is the same inspector who closed Zipps in June of this year, but there is a slight difference.

The health concerns at Northgate’s Beauty Salon were more a result of ignorance than blatant attempts to hide from inspectors, as was the case with Zipp’s, MacDonald said.
“Zipp had 30 years in the industry and knew better.”

Now before you get the wrong idea about Edmonton, and the fine artists who work hard in that area, I do want you to know. Edmonton tattoo artists are known to go that extra mile to ensure that their establishments are clean and completely health conscious. Most of them will even contact the health department when they are opening, or remodeling their studio. Something that they are not required to do by law.

“This is a safe industry locally,” said MacDonald, who supports a move among local tattoo artists and body piercers to create an association that would provide information to the public and education to industry members. “I have 100-per-cent confidence in the studios open today.”

I agree 100%. However, let this stand as a warning to the clients out there. Never allow an artist to touch you until you have seen him open both needle, and tube, from sterile, sealed autoclaved packages with your own eyes. Most of us are not offended, and I never assembled my machines until the client was in the chair. I wanted them to see the whole procedure, just so they would know I was doing all I could to safeguard them. Most artists are the same way. We want you to know we are thinking about you, and your tattoo first and foremost.

Also, use a bit of common sense. If the place is dirty looking, why would you expect the tattoo to be clean? If they don’t give a shit whether their studio is clean it’s a safe bet they don’t give a shit whether your tattoo is sterile, or not.

Keep it safe, Gang. 😉

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