EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is urging anyone who may have received a tattoo from ‘Tazzman Tattoo’ — a home-based tattoo parlour in Edmonton — to be tested, after the operation was shut down due to unsanitary conditions.
“Sanitary conditions were unacceptable for current standards and regulations for delivery of tattoos in any situation,” said Dr. Christopher Sikora, a medical officer of health with AHS.
Tazzman Tattoo, operated by Steve Tazz Devilman, runs out of an apartment building in the area of 107 Ave. and 105 St. It was shut down by AHS on Friday.
While Sikora could not go into specific detail about the conditions inside, AHS’ notice of closure states “tattoo needles and tubes were contaminated with ink and blood and not sterile at the point of use.”
According to the same notice, single-use tattoo equipment was not being discarded after each client service and tattoo needles were suspected to have been reused for multiple client services.
A picture from Tazzman Tattoo’s Facebook page shows a pizza box and muffins sitting on the same surface where a tattoo was being inked. Another photo reveals what appears to be ink stored in a cereal bowl.
Tazzman Tattoo has been in operation for about 13 years. It did not have a business licence, which is why it had not been inspected until last week, AHS said.
In addition, Sikora says records were not kept, so there’s no way of contacting clients.
“Individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV… and should consider testing.”
There are several regulations all tattoo operators must follow — including keeping the tattooing area completely separate from all other areas of the business and/or home. The area must be free of pets, and single-use, disposable equipment must be used wherever possible, according to AHS.
Jeana Schneider, who runs a home-based tattoo studio of her own, says it’s also incredibly important for anyone considering a tattoo to do their research.
“Definitely go in for a consultation, have a look around, is the space clean?” she explained. “Especially with home studios, people should take the extra step to make sure that they’re being tattooed in a safe environment.”
Schneider also displays her business licence and most recent health inspection notice for her clients to see.
“I think it’s good that people who are practicing tattooing in unsanitary conditions are getting shut down because that clears the way for people who are clean and legitimate.”
AHS says it has not yet linked any cases of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV back to Tazzman Tattoo. Anyone who has received a tattoo from the operator is urged to call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 to arrange a blood test.
The Edmonton Police Service says if a person were to contract one of the diseases, intent would have to be shown in order to lay a criminal charge against the operator, “which would be difficult.”
“A civil suit for negligence may be possible if they could prove harm,” added EPS spokesperson Clair Seyler.
AHS has also provided a checklist for people to go through before receiving a tattoo.
With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News.