Public health warnings have been issued in Florida, Massachusetts and New York this week highlighting the risks of unsafe tattoo practices. The state’s health departments have responded to the growing concern about increasingly popular tattoo parties, which are being reported in greater numbers across the US.
So what exactly is a tattoo party?
The idea is simple. A group of friends get together at someone’s house, a tattoo artist shows up and everyone (brave enough) gets a tattoo. Tattoo parties have been around for a long time, but recently they have become more popular with teens as age restrictions do not apply outside of a licensed parlour.
In many states these types of events are illegal. Unlicensed tattoo activity may be unsanitary, particularly if the artists don’t give due care to the sterilization of equipment. Re-using needles and sharing ink between customers is common, said officials from Florida’s Department of Health.
This brings with it considerable risk, as the spread of diseases like hepatitis C becomes more likely in an unsanitary, unlicensed environment. Blood borne viruses can be transmitted when contaminated blood is left on unsterilized equipment and then used on multiple people.