Blood Donations for Tattoo Recipients


It has come to my attention that there are petitions circulating that are being driven by the Red Cross to try and get New York State to regulate Tattoo Studios.


You may ask why the Red Cross would be interested in New York State’s regulations on tattooing.


The reason is the Red Cross has rules in place that if a potential donor has been tattooed in a facility that is not regulated by that state – that they must wait at least a year before being eligible to donate blood again. The Red Cross is concerned about the transmission of Hepatitis through dirty tattoo situations.

As a result of this they are experiencing a problem with finding donors in some areas such as New York where there are no state regulations in place.



An Open Letter to the Red Cross


To Whom it May Concern,


I appreciate your problems in finding suitable blood donors in New York state due to the year wait on tattoo recipients. I personally used to donate regularly as an apheresis doner (O+) and am no longer able to due to the one year rule.


However I do not think asking New York state to regulate tattooing is the best course of action to address this situation. As a professional tattoo artist I can tell you that state regulations would do little to ensure the safety of our clients or your blood supply. In addition considering the budget concerns that New York is currently experiencing, adding a completely new program and regulatory agency to their agenda is unlikely.


I see two possible alternatives. The first is to reconfigure your own standards to limit blood donations without the year wait to persons who have been tattooed in a legitimate professional tattoo studio environment. Depending on the State to determine what is a professional environment is risky as in all likelihood regulations would amount to little more than a purchased license. Thus having little reflection on the actual cleanliness and standards maintained within a Tattoo Studio.


The second alternative could benefit you, the Tattoo Shops and the tattoo customer.

Develop your own Blood Borne Pathogens Training class for tattoo artists and studio owners. You already have Blood Borne Pathogens classes available. You are uniquely qualified to put together a comprehensive program to really teach artists the things that they need to know to protect both themselves and their clients.

Teach this class. Charge money for it. Give participants Certificates of Completion. Then change your standards to remove the year wait on donors who have been tattooed by an artist or facility Certified under YOUR program in addition to those regulated by the States.

Tattoo artists would be able to demonstrate their proactive interest in protecting their clients, tattoo consumers would be safer, you would make some money and increase your donor pool. Everyone wins.


Many artists and studios in New York already participate in Blood Borne Pathogens training far in excess of anything that a state would require for licensing. You can use this to your advantage instead of counting on another agency.


If there is any way that I personally or the professional tattoo artists in the area could assist, I assure you we would be available and willing to do so.


thank you for your time and attention,

TeeJay Dill


owner White Tiger Tattoo Rochester & Webster NY

red cross with tattoo machine

~ by justteejay on May 28, 2013.

4 Responses to “Blood Donations for Tattoo Recipients”

  1. well done my friend

  2. It was brought to my attention that the guidelines for Blood Donation may be regulated on a Federal level, not by the Red Cross themselves. Which would make these suggestions impossible. That would be unfortunate if it is the case as I still believe training and education would be of better benefit to all involved than State Regulations would be.

  3. This is one of life’s ironies for me. I would previously never donate blood because I had an irrational fear of being poked with needles. Now that I don’t (many year of regular visits to the phlebotomist) and would be willing to give blood, I can’t due to the fact the I don’t think I’ve gone more than 12 months without getting work done since you did my first piece.

  4. Very well written. I just came across this but have been regularly on the phone with various people at the Red Cross about this very question, pushing them to allow for voluntary compliance by the artists/studios to allow us to continue to donate. This has included getting direct responses from the FDA and NYS health department to confirm it is a Red Cross policy, not something that their hands are tied by as they like to claim. I am glad to see that there is some interest in this on the Artist and Shop level too.

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