In the News: The Inky-Dark Side of Tattoos

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The Inky-Dark Side of Tattoos

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Besides being an action God forbids, tattoos and body piercings have significant health risks. Puncturing the skin for either a tattoo or a piercing disrupts one of the largest organs of the body, the skin. Dirty needles and instruments can contain blood, body fluids and other materials that can lead to infection. Routine earlobe piercing is generally safe (and the Bible does mention earrings positively), but piercings in the upper ear or other body cartilage can cause physically deforming infections. Cartilage has no blood supply and therefore cannot fight infections ("Tattoos and Piercings: Know the Dangers," Boeing Health Wellness Letter, April). One particular danger in getting tattoos and body piercings is the methicillin-resistant germ staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A series of outbreaks of this drug-resistant bacteria occurred in individuals who visited unlicensed tattoo artists in Ohio and Kentucky in 2004 and 2005. All the affected individuals recovered after hospitalization, but MRSA can be fatal ("Officials Say Some Tattoo Customers Developed Drug-Resistant Infections," Associated Press, June 22).