CALGARY – Health officials are asking anyone who got a tattoo from a home-based operation called Discount Tattoo to get tested for viruses like Hepatitis and HIV. According to Alberta Health Services, the business located at 224 7A St. N.E. was not meeting health and safety standards, and the owner had been warned before.
“This particular home-based tattoo operation did not have proper sterilization or sanitation processes in place, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV,” Dr. Judy MacDonald, Medical Officer of Health with the Calgary Zone of AHS, said in a statement.
AHS said anyone who received tattoos at Discount Tattoo or from the operator, Ryan Kinsella, should call Health Link at 811 to arrange for testing.
In a Kijiji ad called “Tattoo artist awaiting permits,” Kinsella said he’d been posting online ads to tattoo people at a “fraction of the cost of a tattoo shop” but “didn’t realize the strict rules around tattooing” in Alberta. He said he was in the process of getting licensed.
“Alberta Health has asked me to remove my previous ads,” he wrote. “I’m posting now for tattoo design and stenciling. I’ve met some awesome clients and done some good work so far! I’m looking forward to meeting other like-minded people who want to get inked up a little bit or a lot.”
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The ad said Kinsella also sells tattoo equipment guns, tubes, needles, tips, inks, stencil application products, art supplies, and after-care products. He wrote: “I post videos on YouTube for tattooing also on making your own stencil stuff at home, as well as applying your own tattoo stencils.”
Discount Tattoo was shut down by AHS on Jan. 28. Kinsella is not permitted to offer tattoo services while the closure order is in place.
MacDonald said there weren’t any tattoo operations shut down in Calgary in 2015. She said three were closed down in 2014, and two in 2013. Kinsella’s is the first incident in 2016.
Tattoo operations are regularly inspected by AHS Environmental public health. To check on a facility’s recent inspection record, call 403-943-2288. Closure orders issued by AHS are also posted online at: www.ahs.ca/eph.asp.
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