Toronto Public Health has issued a precautionary warning about the infection control practices at a northwest Toronto tattoo parlour.

The shop, which is called It's Just Body Art, is located at 1072 Wilson Ave., located below Raphael's Hair Salon.

"“We’ve had no reports of infections associated with this shop," Dr. Herveen Sachdeva, associate medical officer of health with the city agency, said Monday.

"The risk is very low, but as a precaution, we are advising anyone who received a tattoo or body piercing at this location between Sept. 28, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010 to see their doctor to be tested for these infections."

People can call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 for more information.

HIV and various strains of hepatitis, particularly B and C, are among the blood-borne viruses that can be transmitted through contaminated tattooing equipment.

Tattooing and body-piercing equipment must be sterile. Sterilizers are to be tested every two weeks to make sure they are functioning properly, the agency said.

Toronto Public Health said clients of tattoo parlours should insist operators do the following:

  • wash their hands and change gloves between clients
  • apply an antiseptic to the client's skin before beginning the procedure
  • open sterilized packages of equipment for each client

Chris Mark, the business's owner, told CTV Toronto that every needle he uses is sterilized and comes out of a sealed package. When he's done with it, the tip is broken an the needle discarded, Mark said.

They are "never, ever" reused, he said.

However, Toronto Public Health is unhappy with the state of Mark's sterilizing machine.

"I didn't feel this was right, because it works," he said.

Sachdeva noted there are no client records. "I'm a tattoo studio," Mark said. "Would you want me to know your personal information?"

Mark said he's never had a problem in the nine-year history of his business. However, CTV Toronto reported that Mark's landlord has put him out of business.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Tom Hayes