Local Blood Centers and Tattoo Owners Unite on Tattoo and Body Art Licensure Requirements

April 13, 2012

Minnesota blood centers were instrumental in their combined efforts to support and help pass the Tattoo and Body Art bill (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 146B) in 2010 requiring the licensure of all body art establishments and technicians in Minnesota. Effective April 16, 2012 all eligible donors who receive a tattoo will be eligible to donate blood as long as they meet other eligibility requirements.

The American Red Cross and Memorial Blood Centers supported this legislation because it provided blood and platelet donation eligibility to people previously deferred from donating for 12 months after receiving a tattoo in Minnesota. The 12-month deferral for unlicensed facilities was intended to mitigate the risk of disease transmission from facilities and technicians that may reuse needles and/or ink between customers.

“We estimate that thousands of additional blood and platelet donors will be eligible to donate now,” said American Red Cross Mid-America Blood Services Division Chief Medical Officer David C. Mair, M.D. “We hope that this demystifies the myth that once you have a tattoo you can’t be a blood donor. We want blood donation to become a lifelong commitment so that there is always blood available for patients in need.”

“The demand for blood is constant, but the supply is not. Our ability to maintain a safe and stable blood supply is transitioning from the baby boomers – many of whom donate blood four or more times per year – to today’s youth. We encourage people to donate blood, and this legislation eliminates the 12-month deferral for those with tattoos,” said Jed B. Gorlin, M.D., medical director and vice president, Medical and Quality Affairs at Memorial Blood Centers. “Our goal is donor and patient safety, and ensuring that body art establishments and practitioners follow proper procedures will minimize the risk of transmission of blood borne infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis (B and C),” Gorlin added.

Nearly half of all states have enacted similar legislations that require establishments and technicians to take proper precautions, through regulation, to minimize blood borne infectious diseases, and ensure the safety of the people receiving tattooing or piercing procedures.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

About Memorial Blood Centers

Memorial Blood Centers has been saving lives for over 60 years as an independent nonprofit supplying life-saving blood to area hospitals and other partners throughout the U.S. Operating 11 donor centers and conducting hundreds of blood drives each month, Memorial Blood Centers also provides comprehensive testing and expert technical services as a national leader in transfusion medicine. For more information, call 888-GIVE-BLD or visit MBC.org.