AHS recommends testing after ordering ‘unsanitary’ home-based tattoo shop to close

Anyone who got a tattoo at a home-based parlour in west Edmonton is being advised to go for follow-up testing after Alberta Health Services closed down the shop.

On Feb. 19, AHS ordered the closure of Hornets Nest Tattoo. The shop was operating out of #106, 10140 – 156 St. AHS said anyone who received a tattoo at that location or received a tattoo from operator William Davis should be tested for viruses that can be spread through unsanitary tattoo procedures.


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“To prevent the spread of infection from one person to another, equipment used in tattooing must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized according to health standards,” Dr. Shobhit Maruti, Medical Officer of Health for the Edmonton Zone of AHS, said Friday.

“This particular home-based tattoo operation did not have these proper sterilization or sanitation processes in place, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.”

Anyone who may be affected is encouraged to call their doctor to arrange testing. The test is simple and confidential, AHS said.

The parlour will remain closed until the operator has addressed all the violations included in the closure order, according to AHS. Davis is also not permitted to tattoo anyone while the closure is in place.

According to the closure order, AHS officers were blocked by Davis while attempting to perform a “complete and thorough” unannounced inspection of the tattoo parlour.

“He yelled at both executive officers to leave and to never come back in spite of the fact that he was told executive officers had the right to be there for an inspection,” it reads.

Inside, AHS said Davis was tattooing people in what was previously a bedroom and was carpeted.

“This type of flooring did not allow for the maintenance of a clean and sanitary tattoo space.”

Other issues included no designated sink for hand washing or cleaning of reusable equipment and insufficient sterility assurance of stainless steel tattoo tubes and grips.

AHS said packages were not labelled with load numbers and could not be traced. There were no sterilization logs available for review and the stove top pressure cooker-style autoclave did not have a temperature gauge to measure physical parameters.

The order also said there was no evidence that chemical or biological monitoring was being conducted.

“It is the responsibility of all tattoo facility operators – whether residential or otherwise – to ensure all regulations are met and operations are compliant,” Maruti said. “This applies not only before opening a tattoo operation but also while operating; always. Our health inspectors support these businesses to operate safely. We are here as a resource.”

AHS recommends anyone looking to get a tattoo confirms that a tattoo operation is routinely inspected before receiving any tattoo. To do so, residents can ask the operator for their most current health inspection report or can call Edmonton Zone Environmental Public Health at 780-735-1800

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