May 22, 2015
San Francisco, CA – This week Blood Centers of the Pacific (BCP) announced that individuals who have received a tattoo in California within a state regulated facility (e.g. a professional tattoo parlor) are no longer deferred from donating blood for 12 months. In July 2012 California implemented a new law (The Safe Body Art Act) which regulates body art facilities and tattoo artists in California. The law is enforced at the local county level, and California counties have now had nearly three years to establish and improve their local programs to be in compliance with the new law.
“For decades now the pool of eligible blood donors has been reduced due to myriad restrictions, all with the safety of the blood supply in mind. Allowing individuals who receive tattoos in California to donate blood without having to wait an entire year is one real bit of good news for the blood supply and for Blood Centers of the Pacific,” reported Kent Corley, BCP Public Relations.
Tattoos have become more common over the past couple of decades. A Harris poll in 2012 found that 1 out of every 5 adults — 21 percent — has at least one tattoo. An earlier Pew Research Center study found that the number was closer to 40 percent among those ages 18 to 29.
As the popularity of tattoos has increased so has the number of people who have tried to donate blood but been turned away due to receiving one. With this policy change it is imperative the word gets out to the tattoo community that the waiting period to donate blood is over. All of the thousands of Northern California folks who express themselves artistically with tattoos can now express themselves as lifesavers – as blood donors.
“This policy change is potentially significant for our blood supply,” commented Fred McFadden, Manager of Mobile Recruitment for BCP. “Only 5% of the general population donates blood regularly, and last year alone BCP deferred more than 600 donors due to tattoo placement in the prior 12 months. If we can reach a new group of donors, who have already proved their resolve, it may help us move the dial on our supply of all blood types and going into this summer we are especially short of O-negative blood, the universal donor.” For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit www.bloodcenters.org.
Blood Centers of the Pacific is a not-for-profit organization that provides volunteer blood donations to more than 50 hospitals throughout Northern California. It is the nation’s oldest community-sponsored blood center, with locations throughout the region, from the base of Silicon Valley to the Oregon border. BCP is an affiliate of Blood Systems, the nation’s second largest blood collection organization. For more information, visit http://www.bloodcenters.org.