United States: Following the infection threat that occurred due to Botox Surgeries, the residents of the United States are not cautious about contamination of the tattoo or permanent makeup inks. A recent study has revealed that approximately 35 percent of the inks in the United States are contaminated with bacteria – leading to severe infections.

The researchers have revealed that aerobic and anaerobic bacteria is present in approximately 75 tattoo inks produced by 14 manufacturers. This is for the first-time in the history that a dedicated study has been conducted on the presence of anaerobic bacteria in the commercial tattoo inks.

The corresponding study author, who also works as a microbiologist for the US Food and Drug Administration in Arkansas – Seong-Jae (Peter) Kim, was quoted saying, “Both types of bacteria, those needing oxygen (aerobic) and those not needing oxygen (anaerobic), can contaminate the inks,” according to the New York Post.

The inks used for tattoos and permanent makeup do not require pre-market approval like other drugs and medical device does, as per the guidelines by FDA. According to its official website, “FDA has not approved any inks for injection into your skin.” However, the pigments used as color additives require permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

In addition to this, the health agency noted that the number of cases linked to the infection caused by tattoo inks and contamination has increased over the past few weeks. Reportedly, earlier in 2019, around six (6) tattoo inks – contaminated with bacteria – were discovered, resulting in a safety alert.

Health experts have outlined that the contaminated ink can result in rashes and lesions, and, in some cases, it may also cause permanent scarring.

Guidance by FDA for Ink Manufacturers!

Certain reports have claimed that last year a draft of guidance was issued for ink manufacturers and distributors by FDA which could assist them to recognize potential contamination from mold, bacteria as well as other microorganisms – which can cause severe diseases.

The study author, Kim, outlined that the research has concluded that there is “no clear link between a product label claiming sterility and the actual absence of bacterial contamination,” according to the New York Post.

The expert further stated, “The rising popularity of tattooing in recent years has coincided with an increase in tattoo-related complications or adverse reactions.”

Ink Contamination – A Matter of Concern for Americans?

Reportedly, in 2023 a Pew Research Center revealed that around 32 percent of young Americans have a tattoo and 22 percent of them have more than one.

Visual Representation for Tattoo Inks

Other complications faced due to tattooing!

Kim has stated that the tattoos and their ink can result in various complications along with bacterial infections. Accordingly, some of the complications include allergic hypersensitivity, inflammations, and toxic responses.

He also outlined that following this study, his team will be developing a plan which will be more efficient to detect contamination in tattoo inks. Kim was quoted saying, “In light of our study results, we want to emphasize the importance of continuously monitoring these products to ensure the microbial safety of tattoo inks,” as per New York Post.

This study has been conducted after a study concluded that nearly 83 percent of the tattoo inks have products/ substances which are not mentioned on their label. Along with this, the researchers – from another study – have highlighted that there is a potential link between tattoos and lymphoma – a type of blood cancer.

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