'Unsafe and unsanitary practices' found at Niles tattoo and piercing shop, health department says

Blood testing is recommended for former customers who received surface or dermal piercings at Paparazzi Tattoo and Body Piercing, the Berrien County Health Department said.

NILES, Mich.—The Berrien County Health Department said Tuesday that it has identified “unsafe and unsanitary” piercing practices at Paparazzi Tattoo & Body Piercing in Niles.

The practices may have exposed former customers to the blood of other customers, the health department said.

As a precaution, the health department is asking that customers who have ever received body piercings at the shop to receive blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

According to the health department, individuals who received piercings of their belly button, tongue, nipples, genitals and/ or other surface or dermal piercings may be at increased risk for possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens due to the improper sterilization of metal forceps used for those procedures.

The health department said the tools were going through a sanitation process but not a sterilization process.

Customers who received ear and nose piercings exclusively are not at risk and are not recommended for blood testing, the health department said. 

The investigation began after a community member filed a complaint about the practices with the health department.

To date, the health department has not identified any cases of hepatitis C, hepatitis B, or HIV associated with the practices at Paparazzi Tattoo & Body Piercing.

The health department is working to notify customers who are potentially impacted but former customers may contact the Berrien County Health Department for information on how to get tested.

A "licensed suspended" sign could be seen posted on the door of the tattoo and piercing shop on Tuesday.

The facility was ordered to close until they come into compliance, so there is a chance for the business to reopen and move forward. 

The health department did add that the tattoo portion of the business is in full compliance.

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