Mates Inking Mates is Risky Business

Mates Inking Mates is Risky Business
Ink! The desire to be inked is rapidly growing on the North Coast with people of all ages going to tattoo parlours to get a tattoo that reflects their loves, interests or desires.

“It is reassuring to know that most people who choose to be inked are having it done at a tattoo parlour,” said the Director of Public Health, Mr Paul Corben.

“Tattoo parlours must be registered with the local Council and must be kept in a clean and hygienic condition, and must have practices that minimise the risks of transmission off blood borne viruses”, Mr Corben added.

“Viruses like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and H IV are most commonly transmitted to people through blood to blood contact and may be contracted during tattooing if clean and sterile equipment is not used,” Mr Corben said.

“The potential for a person to become infected with a blood to blood virus is significantly increased if a tattoo is done by a friend or at premises that are not registered with Council.”

The North Coast Public Health Unit is aware that some people have their tattoos done by a friend instead of going to the tattoo parlour.

Backyard tattooists may not have the ability to maintain the tattooing area in a clean and hygienic condition or to ensure the tattooing equipment is properly sterilised.

In the Port Macquarie-Hastings area, two people were recently found to be carrying out tattooing procedures on friends and family. Joint inspections by Council and the Public Health Unit has stopped this from happening and prevented more people being placed at risk of infection.

It is illegal to tattoo anyone unless the tattoo is done at registered premises. If anyone is aware of a person tattooing people from an unregistered location, details can be given to either the local Council or Public Health Unit Environmental Health Officer.

If anyone is aware of people who are tattooing young people (under 18 years) without the parent’s consent, the Department of Community Services should be contacted.

The fine for tattooing a person under the age of 18 without parental consent can be up to $22,000.

For more information about safe tattooing and hygienic practices please go to NSW Health website at:

For further information about Hepatitis B & C please go to Hepatitis NSW website at:

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