Worst article on Hep B&C

A magazine "Tattoo Industry" (published by Easyriders) has perhaps the worst article ever written on Hep B&C. An inauspicious beginning obviously penned by someone outside the industry and even outside the health field.  There is so much wrong with the article it would take a lengthy paper to describe them all.  Here are just a few examples:

From the first sentence:

......"tattooists and healthcare professionals have particularly high infection rates." of HEP

Attention grabber, but False.

As a matter of interest, healthcare professionals have seen their rates decline from 17,000 in the 80's to 400 by the mid 90's.  A tribute to both heightened awareness, immunization and care.  The "tattooists" reference is a disgrace and the worst kind of anti-tattoo journalism. (insipid propaganda)
Editorial oversight?  What a joke.  And this is supposed to be for The Tattoo Industry?

The give-away that the author is non-healthcare studied:
....."parental routes" --that's anything that comes into contact with blood and blood products." 
Maybe the author thinks it has to do with a parent-to-child relationship?

The word is "parenteral" (probably never heard this word before) and it refers to entering the body but not through digestive or gastro-intestinal tract, most often by penetrating the skin. In other words, via blood stream by injection, or through the eye, etc.

Listen to this advice by Tattoo Industry Magazine:  
"make sure you wear gloves when cleaning up blood or vomit that comes out of your client."

This boggles the mind that this would appear in print and bear the imprint of "Tattoo Industry". This magazine is not pro-tattoo.

Because this magazine uses our profession as the title, it disgraces our profession. Imagine medical reviewers seeing this and thinking (as would be reasonable) that this represented the Tattoo Industry?

Part of the article shows two photos of someone breaking needles off of bars with pliers (even a candle would be safer). The value of the needle bar is really the needle part. That's what costs money, the bar itself about 20 cents. So to save 20 cents we are shown how to violate OSHA regulations.  What an article!  The first order of safety is to not handle contaminated items any more than absolutely necessary. All tattooists know this

As a matter of interest it is a violation of OSHA regulations not to immediately discard the entire needle bar into a sharps container without doing anything to the needle bar.

This magazine is the very worst.

And next to this article on page 19 is an advertisement from Zap. The person looks like the same person in the photos violating OSHA regulations and standards.

 The ad for ink states
"Did you know that most inks are made with plastics...?
In fact -- we dispute that as a deliberate lie, made up to deceive tattooists.
It would be proper to demand the evidence for such a statement.
It's not just "Advertising" It has to do with honesty and integrity. There is none here.

This is also a good example of  faulty logic.

The conclusion that Zap is "better" rests on their premise offered that other inks contain plastics - a false premise -- but Zap Ink may actually be worse because it is claimed to be"organic."  Organic may contain chemicals that would violate State of California Prop. 65 requirements for toxic chemicals. There is no evidence that organic is better, nor any comparison between the two.  The conclusion does not follow from the evidence - even if the evidence were true. And we suspect they are not all organic anyway.

The best reason in the  world I can think of not to use them.  
 The motto should be "Get Zapped" - Now that's a catchy phrase.


As reported by Reuters Health Information, Sep 29, 1999

According to Reuters Health a combination hepatitis A and B Vacine is under review by the FDA 
and researches are recommending that all adults be immunized against both viruses.

The article points to the flooding in the Carolinas recently hit by Hurricane Hugo as putting 
everyone at risk for hepatitis A.  Besides a lot of the US-  Nebraska, Iowa and California were singled
out as endemic for hepatitis A.  Day care centers "rampant" with hepatitits A. 
Dr. Mark Blatter is reported as stating that "There is no such thing as maintaining a safe lifestyle 
as we reach the end of the millenium." For adults already immunized against hepatitis B 
his recommendation was a single series against A.



from Am J Gastroenterol 2000 May; 95(5) 1312-5
Silverman AL, et al:  "Tattoo application is not associated with an increased risk for chronic viral hepatitis"
The study from Dept of Emergency Medicine, Research Institute William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA
Conclusion: We find no evidence to support the observation that tattoos serve as a risk factor for chronic viral hepatitis.

A "study" that is used by some commentators to highlight the dangers of tattooing was published in 1991 from the School of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical College, Taiwan, examining the risk of hepatitis C infection from tattooing. 

 87 tattooed and 126 tattoo-free healthy young men
(who are reported as not engaging in intravenous drug-use nor multiple sexual activity)
were examined. 
 86 of the 87 had HBV, and 11 tested positive for anti-HCV. 
3 of 126 also tested positive for anti-HCV though we don't know if any of the 126 had HBV. 
The study concluded:
1) the more tattooed sites the greater the risk of HCV; 
2) the risk was higher if done by a non-professional friend; 
3) tattooing, probably with improperly sterilized needles, can clearly pose an increased risk of HCV.
 The Taiwanese culture regards tattooed individuals as criminals. The choice of subjects and the lifestyle of the 1980's young tattooed men living in Taiwan leads to questions.. No drug use? No multi sex partners?  They may or may not have become infected from tattooing.

It is interesting to point out that there are many areas in the world that do not have significant resources ($) and so sterilization techniques are not employed in general medical settings and by folk medicine practitioners.  Even in hospitals in the 80s in Taiwan, sterilization techniques were few.

Medical treatments and traditional folk medicine themselves were (and are) both high risk and reasonably could account for population exposures.