A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that close to 40 percent of individuals between 18 and 20 years old have at least one tattoo but a warning issued by federal health regulators could scare away individuals who want to ink their body permanently with images and decorative texts.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that not all tattoo ink is safe and contaminated tattoo ink can cause serious skin infection. Worse, this infection can still occur even in the cleanest conditions and use of sterilized needles.

In a statement, the FDA said that it became aware of the dangers posed by tattooing following the results of laboratory tests that found unopened tattoo ink bottles sold by White and Blue Lion, Inc., were positive for microbial bacterial contamination with one illness already reported due to use of the contaminated products.

White & Blue Lion, which sells its products on Amazon, has already issued a recall on July 11 but the FDA is still concerned that tattoo artists and consumers could still get hold of contaminated tattoo products from other distributors.

Injecting contaminated ink can cause bumps in the skin, redness, swelling, discharge and severe pain at the site but the symptoms could be more serious in individuals with existing heart and circulatory conditions as well as those with weak immune systems.

"Tattooing poses a risk of infection to anyone, but the risk is particularly high for those with pre-existing heart or circulatory disease, diabetes or compromised immune systems," said FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors director Linda Katz.

Contaminated tattoo ink may also contain a bacterium that can spread through the blood stream and cause sepsis, a severe blood infection that could cause organ failure and even death. Every year, about 258,000 Americans die because of sepsis.

The agency thus encouraged consumers to be wary when buying tattoo inks and related products. Consumers and tattoo artists were particularly advised not to buy tattoo inks that do not have a brand name, those that do not indicate the place of business of the distributor and those that have been recalled.

"If you're buying tattoo inks or getting a tattoo from a professional tattoo artist, you should first examine the products to determine whether the inks or kits meet the above descriptions," Katz said.

Other infections that were linked with tattooing, because of dirty needles and environments, include hepatitis and staph infection.

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