Informing people about the risks involved with tattoos, including the possibility of hepatitis C transmission, is a critical step to avoiding tattoo-related health issues, says UBC health researcher Dr. Siavash Jafari.
“Members of the public need to know the risks of tattooing, and know the artist (and hygiene practices),” said Jafari.
“Vancouver Coastal Health has hygiene guidelines for tattoo artists, but some of these are old and need to be updated, along with enforcement,” he added.
Jafari is the lead author of a new study published by the UBC School of Population and Public Health (SPPH). Researchers assembled data from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States, and determined the incidence of hepatitis C after tattooing is directly linked to the number of tattoos a person receives.
“Our artists wear gloves, aprons, and plastic sleeves on larger jobs. Everything we use is either disposable, or sterilized using an autoclave (a device that uses a combination of heat and pressure to kill microorganisms),” said Greta Pauls, a co-owner of Sacred Heart Tattoo in Vancouver.
Pauls recommends potential clients deal with accredited tattoo businesses, and not friends-of-friends.