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Tattoo Ink Contaminated, 22 Cases in U.S. Thus far

A rise in soft tissue infections last fall can be tied to contaminated tattoo ink, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reuters reports that at least 22 cases have been confirmed while 31 other similar incidents of infection possibly tied.

The CDC did not identify the four manufacturing companies associated with the incident. Besides one being located in Arizona, they remain nameless. The incidents occurred in New York, Washington, Iowa and Colorado.

Apparently the ink was tainted by using reverse-osmosis water, used to dilute black inks. The contaminated water, when used on a client, created symptoms similar to allergic reactions like bumps and bruising. According to Reuters, Mucobacterium chelonae often exist in the distilled water and was the culprit of the infections.

Treatment for the infection can range from 6 months or more, said Dr. Byron Kennedy of the Monroe County Department of Public Health in New York.

Ink regulations do not exist due to the their cosmetic nature, although Los Angeles County has placed placed laws to prevent the use of potentially contaminated water for tattoo applications. Normally the FDA only intervenes when products used on clients are considered unsafe.


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