Thinking of getting inked or pierced? Make sure the shop is inspected!

The Sudbury & District Health Unit is reminding the public to only go to inspected shops for tattoos or piercings.

Body art should only be done by professional body artists who take steps to protect their customers and themselves from infections. Clients should make sure that their artist is inspected by the Health Unit and follows proper infection control practices. If not done properly, tattooing and piercing can spread blood-borne illnesses, such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and many other bacterial and viral infections.

Clients can see if their body art shop is inspected by checking a list on the Health Unit’s website at If the shop is not listed, then it is not inspected by public health inspectors.

“Uninspected shops often do not follow proper infection control practices,” said Jonathan Groulx, an environmental support officer in the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Division. “These uninspected shops could be putting clients at risk, because they might not use the proper sterilization equipment that is needed to protect clients from blood-borne infections.”

The Health Unit offers the following advice to consumers looking to get tattooed or pierced:

  • Shop around for an inspected body artist. Look at their work, and be sure to ask any questions that you have. A good body artist will answer all your questions.
  • Always use professionals who are inspected by the Health Unit.
  • Ask the artist if the shop or studio is inspected, and ask to see a copy of their latest inspection report.
  • If a location is not inspected by the Health Unit, do not get body art done there and notify the Health Unit as soon as possible.

Tattooists and piercers must follow strict infection control requirements. When getting body art, make sure:

  • The work area is clean, well lit, organized, and maintained in good repair.
  • The artist washes his or her hands with liquid soap and water and puts on a new pair of single-use, disposable gloves before doing procedures.
  • The artist uses an antiseptic on the skin before doing procedures.
  • The artist opens sterilized packages of equipment for every client—you should see them open the package.
  • You are given instructions to care for your body art, for example, information about preventing infection and when to seek medical care.
  • The artist collects your information for their records.

The Health Unit recommends not getting tattooed or pierced if:

  • An artist will not or is unable to answer all of your questions.
  • An artist does not use needles that are prepackaged, sterile, single-use, and disposable.
  • An artist does not use proper cleaning and sterilizing methods.
  • You have taken drugs or alcohol, because these substances could thin your blood, leading to excessive bleeding.

To view a list of inspected tattoo and body piercing establishments, please visit For more information on safe tattooing and piercing, to inquire if a shop is inspected, or to report an uninspected premises, please call the Sudbury & District Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on November 24, 2017