Youth on the Mid North Coast should only go under the needle of a trained tattooist, after a reported rise in backyard tattooing and infection.
Youth on the Mid North Coast should only go under the needle of a trained tattooist, after a reported rise in backyard tattooing and infection.

Illegal ink: backyard tattoos

A PUBLIC health warning has been issued about the dangers associated with "backyard tattoos".

It comes after the concerning find that youths on the Mid North Coast have purchased tattooing equipment over the internet and inked their friends and family.

Aside from the risk of infection, tattooing underage youth without parental consent is an offence in NSW.

The North Coast Public Health Unit warns that people receiving backyard tattoos are being placed at risk of infection.

Public Health North Coast Director Paul Corben said it is reassuring to know that most people who choose to be inked are having it done at a tattoo parlour. 

"Tattoo parlours must be registered with the local council, must be kept in a clean and hygienic condition and must have practices that minimise the risks of transmission of blood borne viruses," Mr Corben said.

"Viruses like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV are most commonly transmitted to people through blood to blood contact and may be contracted during tattooing if clean and sterile equipment is not used. 

"The potential for a person to become infected with a blood to blood virus is significantly increased if a tattoo is done by a friend or at premises that are not registered with Council," he said.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is aware that some people have their tattoos done by a friend instead of going to the tattoo parlour.

Backyard tattooists may not have the ability to maintain the tattooing area in a clean and hygienic condition or to ensure the tattooing equipment is properly sterilised before use.

It is illegal to tattoo anyone unless the tattooing is done at a registered premise. 

If you are aware of a person tattooing people from an unregistered location, details can be passed on to either the local Council or Public Health Unit Environmental Health Officer.

If you know of members of the community who are tattooing young people (under 18 years) without the parent's consent this should be reported to the NSW Department of Community Service.

The fine for tattooing a person under the age of 18 without parental consent can be up to $22,000.



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