PLP #2- Me vs BBPs vs Autoclaves

For the first lesson towards becoming a tattoo artist my mentor Tyler directed me towards some reading and research that is very life-alteringly important. He told me to research Bloodborne Pathogens (BBPs for short) and sterilization. I did some reading on BBP documentation in Canada and found THIS pdf from the Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare (OSACH). It is full of information but, it’s a little dry. I was also looking for something that would relate more directly to the tattoo and body art industry. Fortunately I came across an online training program based specifically for tattooists and body artists.  So I took and completed the  ProTrainings Bloodborne Pathogens Course.  It was just over an hour of video content on specific information in relation to Bloodborne Pathogens and it was followed by a 20 minute exam. Here’s a video sample:

Although it’s a requirement in California certification in prevention of the spread of BBPs is not required to be a tattoo artist in Canada. Everything I learned in this course is often passed on from the tattoo artists to his apprentice during their apprenticeship. Most of these standards are also enforced by the Health Inspector. Part of the BBPs course also included information about sanitization/sterilization of equipment. Many tattoo shops use a machine called an autoclave to sterilize their equipment. You can also often find these in dental offices.

Autoclave Photo Courtesy of Tom Beatty

Many tattoo artists however choose to go with single use or disposable equipment such as tubes, grips, needes, etc. as they don’t require an autoclave. There are pros and cons to each. The initial cost of an autoclave is quite high and learning to use one properly can take some time. The advantage of disposable or single use equipment is that the risk of cross contamination and spreading of BBPs is quite low as you discard all pieces of the equipment after each client. The downside of single use equipment is that the cost can add up over time. My mentor uses True Tubes for his single use equipment and is quite happy with the quality and ease of use.

True Tubes Five Liner Diamond Cut Tubes.


For more information about Autoclaves vs Disposable/Single Use equipment check out the Painful Pleasures blog post.

Next week- How do I use these things?!

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