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International News

Canada: Tattoo Parlors Go Unchecked

June 18, 2009

A Toronto Star investigation has found that no Toronto-area public health unit has consistently performed all the required annual inspections of tattoo and piercing parlors. The province has required such inspections since 1997. The Star investigation, which follows a tattoo parlor-related health scare in the Peel health region earlier this year, examined records from 2007 and 2008.

In March, the Peel Region unit warned that up to 3,000 patrons who received tattoos or piercings from Moonshin Tattoo in Mississauga between March 2005 and February 2009 may have been put at risk for blood-borne infection. Moonshin operators lacked complete records for equipment sterilization, prompting the notice. Peel admitted it had inspected the shop only twice in the past four years.

Durham and York did the best in terms of inspecting tattoo and piercing parlors annually. Durham inspected 100 percent of facilities in 2007 and 95 percent in 2008, and York inspected 84 percent and then 97 percent. Toronto inspected 65 percent of 23 parlors in 2007 and 100 percent of the region's 41 parlors in 2008. Halton Region inspected just 47 percent of its 15 establishments both years. Peel Region fared worst, inspecting just seven of 20 facilities in 2007 and five in 2008.

Lack of funding was the most commonly cited reason for not performing annual inspections. Some parlors were closed or had changed operations, said Joe La Marca, York Region's director of health protection. Health units also tended to prioritize various establishments that required an inspection according to levels of risk.

In addition to the parlors, Peel's 45 inspectors have to evaluate more than 5,000 food establishments, 500 recreational water facilities, and 150 child care centers. However, Peel officials say the region has now inspected all the parlors.

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Toronto Star
06.13.2009; Kenyon Wallace

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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