A recent inspection of a Brockville body piercer’s home business has resulted in public health officials trying to track down past clients.
“It’s like, you wish you would’ve known then what you know now,” says Jason St. Louis, owner of Lux Tattoo and Piercing.
That is St. Louis’s reaction to the public health investigation underway into a body piercer who worked out of his home.
Last month, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit issued a public notice appealing to those who received a body piercing from Melissa Charland during an over three-month-long period early this year.
The alert followed a public health inspection.
“There were disinfection and cleaning and sterilizing gaps, or deficiencies,” says Dr. Linna Li, medical officer of health for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.
St. Louis says he hired Charland as an independent contractor to work out of his tattoo and piercing parlour.
According to public health, Charland also operated her own piercing business, Piercings by Melissa, out of her home, where the inspection occurred.
“At that time, some orders were issued to stop using the reusable tools, and also to stop using any jewelry that was reprocessed,” Dr. Li says.
“It was just, the process in which she was to be sterilizing and packaging the jewelry and the clamps differed from what was on the procedure list from the Ministry of Health,” St. Louis adds.
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St. Louis says he understands the need for stringent sanitization standards, and is more than confident in Charland’s skills as a piercer.
“It created a little bit of a panic and a scare,” he says. “Melissa got death threats. It’s really unfortunate because, in times like this, we want to be supportive.”
The health unit wants to hear from anyone who received piercings from Charland between Feb. 25 and June 8.
Dr. Li says public health casts a wide net due to some misplaced clientele documents, along with potential unknown cross-contamination of other tools.
Dr. Li also says that once Charland’s sanitization standards meet requirements, she’s good to continue doing her work.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases or transmission of Hepatitis, HIV or other blood-borne diseases linked to the investigation.