The owners of a Mississauga tattoo shop, the Region of Peel, and Peel’s public health department are facing a $20 million lawsuit from customers who may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C.

The basis for the lawsuit is the allegedly lax recording of sterilization procedures at Moonshin Tattoo, located near Dundas and Hurontario.

Peel health officials recently put out an advisory urging anyone who received a tattoo or a body piercing at the facility between March of 2005 and February of 2009 to get a blood test. They found the operators didn’t keep adequate records on the sterilization of their tools.

A Brampton man, who asked to remain anonymous, says he plans to join the class-action suit. He got a tattoo from Moonshin back in 2006 and has since been diagnosed with hepatitis B.

“A close friend of mine went there before and said they were professional,” revealed the father and husband.

“You should feel comfortable and [be able to] get artwork done without fearing anything happening to you.”

So far, there’s no proof the man contracted the virus at that particular parlour. But a blood test he took before getting the tattoo came back negative.

Public health officials are supposed to carry out annual inspections of businesses such as tattoo parlours, body piercing shops, and other personal care services where there is possible exposure to blood. Peel’s associate medical of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa reportedly acknowledged that Moonshin Tattoo was checked only twice, once after it opened in 2005 and once last month.

The suit alleges Peel health officials didn’t fulfill their requirements in warning the public about a possible health risk at the shop.

Peel officials, for their part, argue they don’t have enough inspectors and blamed the province for a lack of funding. And Dr. David Mowat, the region’s medical officer of health, says they will do their best going forward.
“We’re convinced, as of today, we have in place the system that’s necessary given the resources available to provide protection for the public.”

How to minimize your risk when getting a tattoo or a piercing