NIOSH Topic Page Addresses Body Art Hazards

NIOSH has created a new topic page titled "Body Art," after numerous meetings with representatives from a number of organizations and agencies--including OSHA--to help identify the hazards and bloodborne pathogen risks tattoo artists and body piercers experience while working.

The agency says the body art industry is unique because its artists express themselves through living art, but in doing so, artists may also come in contact with their client's blood. Because of this, tattoo artists and body piercers may also be exposed to a bloodborne pathogen such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Body artists may be exposed to a bloodborne pathogen by getting stuck with a used needle or if blood splashes into their eyes, nose, or mouth, NIOSH says.

The page includes a link to an Emergency Needlestick Information page for individuals that have been exposed to blood. The page is separated in two categories, one of those is a list of steps for workers and the other is links to industry recommendations for medical providers.

Also included are links to two PDF NIOSH surveys of separate body piercing shops, which found that body piercers have a higher chance of being exposed to a bloodborne pathogen than the general public.

Additional resources include information on how to reduce the risk of exposure, which includes: vaccinating and educating, preventing needlestick injuries, reducing cross-contamination, and reading additional information about topics related to body piercing and tattooing.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/bodyart/.

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