Tattoo craze hits blood supplies
Sunday 21 November 1999
New figures show UK blood stocks are being put at risk because of the fall in donors. Strict rules to stop the spread of hepatitis B, HIV and other blood infections, mean any potential blood donor who has had an "invasive skin procedure" cannot donate for 12 months.
Ten per cent of donors are being turned away every day because they have been tattooed or had an eyebrow, belly button, cheek, tongue or even their genitals pierced. This equates to almost 40,000 units of blood lost - many from young women coming forward to give blood for the first time.
The UK National Blood Service says the trend is being driven by young role models such as All Saints, Robbie Williams, David Beckham and the Spice Girls.
Richard Lodge, the national blood collection co-ordinator for the NBS in England and Scotland, yesterday confirmed that 10 per cent of people are turned away from a donor session on any one day.
"It may seem a small percentage of the total donors, but as absolute numbers they are significant. The worry is that the trend is going up," he said. Mr Lodge is concerned for national blood stocks because a whole generation of new donors could be discouraged.
"Many people usually have more than one piercing. If we defer people for a year from the date of the piercing and then during that time they have another one done and then another, it is means there is a year-long gap every time. It is easy to see that this could result in us losing donors for a long period of time and the longer the time the less chance there is to get them back."
Trudi Evans, of the Welsh Blood Authority, said the situation was becoming serious: "A lot of people are turned away. It is the difference between some hospitals getting an adequate blood supply and not."
Last month a survey published in the Journal of Accident and Emergency Medicine by Staffordshire general hospital revealed that few doctors know the proper way to remove a nose or navel ring and that they can inflict further damage as they fumble with body jewellery. But despite concerns about the dangers of infection and mutilation, Mr Lodge says young role models have made exotic body decoration acceptable.
"Tattoos and body piercing were once considered to be confined to Hell's Angels and S&M devotees and various other extreme groups. The whole social acceptance and tolerance has changed - they are now fashionable and trendy." Everyone who goes to give blood is asked if they have been tattooed, pierced or had some non-NHS accredited acupuncture in the past 12 months. Ear piercing also carries a 12-month ban, but is not considered problematic for blood supplies as most people have their ears pierced before they are 18.
The NBS says it has to impose the 12-month ban because there is no regulatory body for tattoo and piercing parlours or some acupuncture and permanent make-up techniques.
"Any skin which is punctured in this way will carry an increased risk of infection especially when the procedure is repeated on many customers and the needles become contaminated," Mr Lodge said.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...