Characterizing exposures during laser tattoo removal in a hospital dermatology center
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Characterizing exposures during laser tattoo removal in a hospital dermatology center

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    May 2018, revised August 2019

    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from the manager of a dermatology center at a hospital who was concerned about dermatologist's exposures to the plume created during laser tattoo removal. We assessed exposures to metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particles, bacteria, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. We also observed work practices and airflow patterns. We found low levels of some metals, volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and particles in our air samples. Particle concentrations were higher in the air around the dermatologist, close to the laser tattoo process as compared to other areas within the patient room, and laser tattoo emissions did not migrate out of the patient room. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide were not found at any time during the tattoo removals. We found laser eyewear needed replacing, improper use of the "laser in use" signs, and the voluntary use masks available to employees were not certified by NIOSH. We recommend the employer strengthen the laser safety program with accurate use of the "laser in use" signs, replace damaged laser protective eyewear, and contact the manufacturer to establish shelf lives and best practices for cleaning and care. We also recommended they discontinue use of surgical masks for respiratory protection, and only use respirators certified by NIOSH." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSH no. 20056907

    Recommended citation for this report:

    NIOSH [2018]. Characterizing exposures during laser tattoo removal in a hospital dermatology center. By Grant MP, Glassford E, Green B, Lemons A. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2017-0006-3319,

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