BLEEDING to death and contracting blood diseases are just a few consequences of backyard tattooing and body piercing.
As self-piercing and tattooing kits become more readily available, Eurobodalla and Bega councils have teamed up to warn students about the dangers of doing body art themselves.
They hope to introduce workshops in high schools next term that will outline the dangers - a program that will be a first in the state.
Batemans Bay tattoo artist Annette Dyvle says she is forever fixing people’s dodgy backyard tattoos and piercings. She was very pleased to hear about the program.
Ms Dyvle said cross infections, blood contamination diseases like Hepatitis B and C and blood poisoning were just a few of the consequences.
“They’re risking their lives,” she said. “It’s just terrible, they don’t know what they’re doing. They could go too deep into the skin and can scar people.”
When it comes to piercings, she said the dangers were much worse.
“If someone tried to pierce a tongue and it goes through a vein, then you can bleed out in 20 minutes,” she said.
She warned people about buying “sterile” products and cheap inks over the internet.
“Even if they think they’re getting needles out of sterilised packages, if the nibs aren’t sterile then anything can be passed on,” she said. “You need an autoclave to sterilise the nibs.”
Eurobodalla Shire Council has yet to approach schools about the project, but Bega Valley Shire Council’s environmental health coordinator Greg O’Donnell said they’ve had a positive response in their area.
Mr O’Donnell initiated the project after a Bermagui body piercer contacted him with concerns backyard body art was becoming widespread.
“Unfortunately kids and adults are going out and doing it and not knowing the harm they’re doing to themselves in the short and long term,” he said.
“We’re trying to get the message across that it’s not as simple as you think.”
The program will cover the dangers of self tattooing and piercing and also emerging forms of body art such as dermal implants, where pieces of metal are attached under the skin to allow devil horns or other decorations to stick out, and scarification, where the skin is cut in a certain way to allow scars to form in patterns.
Eurobodalla Shire Council senior environmental health coordinator Ric Cumming said the program was in its early stages and that it would be useful in schools.
“Body art is very popular these days and before people jump into it they need to make an informed decision.”
He said they would focus on Years Nine and 10 students.
“That age group becomes very active in body art and have role models, such as in the football sector, that participate in it,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of peer pressure on the young ones to participate, and it’s fine, but they need to be aware of the consequences of that.”