Contaminated Tattoo Ink, Tattoo Needles, Tattoo Kits Recalled

Contaminated-Tattoo-Ink-Tattoo-Needles-RecalledCalifornia-based White & Blue Lion, Incorporated has issued a nationwide recall on all of its tattoo inks, needles, and ink and needle kits over potential bacterial contamination.

Infections may lead to sepsis, which is a potentially deadly infection complication, according to Fox31Denver KDVR, citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The inks and needles were sold in kits, as well as separately, by 8Decades and White & Blue Lion, Inc. Sales were nationwide and through direct and online sales. One illness has been tied to use of the recalled inks and needles, to date.

The recalled products were sold through Consumers with any questions may contact White & Blue Lion at 1.626.586.3485, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.

The recalled tattoo inks, tattoo needles, and tattoo kits distributed by White & Blue Lion include the following:

  • Tattoo Inks: Sold in kits and separately; all colors; brand: multi-colored Chinese Dragon Image with black and white lettering; Lot Number: OR20036; Batch Number: 8; Best if Used by Date: 16/12/16; 5 ml bottle.
  • Tattoo Needles: Included in kits; individually packaged in groups of five; brand: none—labeled as “CE)197 Pre-made tattoo needle” and “sterilized by E.O. Gas”; Art Numbers: 1203RL, 1205M, 1205RL, 1205RS, 1209RL, 1207RL, 1207M, 1207RS, 1209M, 1209RS; Lot Numbers: 201308, 201307, 201312, 201402, 201311, 201310; Expiration Date: JUN2018.


Infections resulting from tattooing are not rare, according to a previous The Associated Press (AP) report. In fact, according to health officials at the time, cases of infections associated with tattoo inks are on the rise. For example, in a fairly large outbreak, 19 people in Rochester, New York, suffered from bubbly rashes covering their new tattoos. Hepatitis, staph infections, and MRSA have all been associated with tattooing and dirty needles and unsanitary conditions are generally the culprit.

In the Rochester cases, an unidentified tattoo artist was associated with the infections. The artist wore disposable gloves and sterilized his/her instruments; the issue was tied to the ink. “Even if you get a tattoo from a facility that does everything right, it’s not risk free,” said Dr. Byron Kennedy, deputy director of the health department in New York’s Monroe County. Dr. Kennedy was the lead author of a report on the Rochester cases published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the prior year, there were 22 confirmed and over 30 suspected cases of skin infections in Colorado, Iowa, New York, and Washington State, according to health officials. Infections were associated with ink or the water used to dilute the ink, which should always be sterile. Other reports have been received over the past decade and are expected to increase with the number of tattoos increase, according to the AP.

The prior illnesses were blamed on bacterial relative of tuberculosis known as Mycobacterium chelonae that causes itchy, painful pus-filled blisters that require strong antibiotics that take months to clear the infection and lead to significant side effects. The bacteria are found in tap water and are seen when tattoo artists use tainted water to dilute inks. The bacteria may also be found in distilled water, which is also sometimes used, said Tara MacCannell, who led a related investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her study appeared in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Some ink makers add witch hazel or an alcohol preservative to reduce risks for some viruses; however, these substances do not eradicate chelonae bacteria, MacCannell said, wrote the AP.

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