FDA investigators have linked A Thousand Virgins shade inks used in tattooing to microbiological contamination. Unopened bottles of ATV's G1, G2 and G3 grayscale inks were tested and found to contain human pathogen Mycobacterium chelonae
, as well as Cryptococcus albus
molds and members of the Penicillium
Because tattoo ink is injected under the skin, introduction of these bacteria can lead to infection that can spread throughout the body. Symptoms include swelling, redness, itching, raised blemishes on the tattoo, persistent pain or stolen and tender lymph nodes. The FDA is warning people who have recently gotten tattoos using this ink and experience these symptoms to seek medical treatment, as complications from infection can include sepsis, and may require extensive hospitalization, antibiotic treatment or surgery.
The FDA is currently working with A Thousand Virgins to recall contaminated inks and investigating how the contamination took place. Tattoo artists are encouraged to advise their clients about the possibility of contamination and remove identified contaminated inks immediately, and report the ink to the FDA and its manufacturer. People with infected tattoos and tattoo artists whose clients have been infected are encouraged to report adverse events and side effects through the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning artists and consumers about dangers posed by contaminated tattoo inks.