Reputable Memphis tattoo studios not affected by California recall of contaminated ink, needles

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A warning for anyone thinking of getting a tattoo from someone who isn't qualified.

A California-based company is recalling ink and needles sold over the internet because some were found to be contaminated.

The FDA reports the bacterial infection can lead to a potentially life-threatening complication called sepsis.

An artist at a Memphis tattoo shop told News Channel 3 there's only one way to be sure your tattoo experience will be a good one.

Brent Hale, with No Regrets Tattoo, said he wasn't surprised by news of the recall.

"They don't care who they're selling to. They're in it for money and that's all they're concerned about. Your health is not a concern of theirs," said Hale.

Hale, who would rather just be called a tattooer, has worked at No Regrets Tattoo in Midtown for several years.

He said the recall of  tattoo supplies distributed by California-based White & Blue Lion, Inc. and another company named "8Decades," wasn't a complete surprise.

"That's a supply company that will sell to anybody. You know if you can call them or place an order on eBay, you can get some tattoo equipment from them," said Hale.

The company is voluntarily recalling tattoo inks, needles and tattoo kits that were sold on the internet.

The FDA found evidence of microbial bacterial contamination in both the inks and needles.

Hale says internet sales of tattoo equipment make it too easy for unqualified people to victimize unknowing customers.

"That doesn't mean you're a tattooer, that doesn't mean that you know safety precautions, it doesn't mean that you can tattoo.  Just because you have a tattoo machine or you have some equipment," said Hale.

Reputable tattoo studios, like No Regrets Tattoo, buy equipment through reliable distributors and their employees follow strict health guidelines from the beginning to the end of every tattoo session.

"Everything is single use. All the pigments get poured into a single use cap that's tossed after the tattoo. All needles are single use," said Hale.

No Regrets Tattoo is inspected several times a year by the Health Dept. and always receives a top score of 100.

Hale said the key to a safe and satisfying tattoo experience is simple.

"You know, don't get tattooed at your buddy's house. Get tattooed at a reputable shop," said Hale.

Some of the recalled tattoo needles are labeled as "CE0197 Pre-made tattoo needle" and are packaged in groups of five. Also included in the recall are tattoo inks with Lot #OR20036, Batch #8.

The phone number for White & Blue Lion, Inc. is 626-586-3485. They're open from noon to 9 p.m. EST,  Monday through Friday.