From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog:
The practice of tattooing has been around for thousands of years. These days, 21% of adults in the United States report having at least one piece of permanent artwork on their bodies. Many people who receive these lasting tributes – to loved ones, to pop culture, to religion, or to whatever they’re into – generally know what to look for when selecting a reputable tattoo parlor. Does the artist wear gloves? Does the tattoo shop sterilize their equipment? Did the artist open a sterile needle in front of you? Are things like inks and ointments portioned out for individual use? If the artist can pass this mental checklist, most people feel pretty safe.
One question few people may consider, however, is “What exactly went into that ink you’re about to inject into my skin?” And even if the question was asked, there’s no guarantee that the artist could answer with any great certainty. Concentrated tattoo inks may be made from products that were never intended to be used for tattoos. Tattoo ink manufacturers may use products such as calligraphy ink, drawing ink, or even printer ink to make the products eventually used for tattooing. These manufacturers often sell their products online, and while their states may require them to hold a business license, there is no regulation or oversight of the product itself.
Read the complete post here.