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Bacterial Infections Linked to Contaminated Tattoo Ink

EMSL Analytical offers testing services to identify microbial pathogens to prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers.


Cinnaminson, NJ, September 10th, 2012
Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report about tattoo-associated nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) skin infections.  The report came after four states reported similar occurrences. 
New York, Washington, Iowa and Colorado all reported cases.  In New York alone, health officials received reports of Mycobacterium chelonae skin infections in 14 residents. According to the CDC, “NTM contamination of inks can occur during the manufacturing process as a result of using contaminated ingredients or poor manufacturing practices, or when inks are diluted with nonsterile water by tattoo artists. No specific FDA regulatory requirement explicitly provides that tattoo inks must be sterile.” 
Mycobacterium chelonae is a rapidly growing Gram-positive species of bacteria that belongs to the genus Mycobacterium. It is found throughout the environment and can occasionally cause opportunistic infections in humans as occurred with the tattooed individuals.
Mycobacterium chelonae has emerged as a growing cause of soft tissue infections,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading microbiological network of testing laboratories.  “Cases of these infections are often sporadic, except when caused by contaminated products.  Products harboring the bacteria that come in contact with the skin can cause outbreaks of this type of infection.  The bacteria are also frequently found in tap water, sewage and industrial waste.  It has been found on medical devices in healthcare settings which are of particular concern as people with weakened immune systems are generally more susceptible to these types of infections.  Environmental testing and testing of consumer products and raw ingredients can quickly identify this microbial pathogen to help prevent human illness and costly product recalls for manufacturers.”
To learn more about testing for microbial contaminants, indoor air quality (IAQ) or other environmental issues, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.



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