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Got a tattoo? You can give blood, despite what you've heard

There's a national blood shortage, so the Seattle Tattoo Expo was a great place to get the word out.


SEATTLE -- People from all over the Northwest come to the Seattle Tattoo Expo to get new ink, new ideas, and new inspiration.

There are plenty of needles here, of course.

But you may not expect to see needles from a blood bank.

Bloodworks Northwest set up its tent alongside the tattoo artists and ink vendors.

They’re facing a national blood supply shortage and want to encourage a new group of people to donate: Folks with tattoos, who may think they’re either banned outright or face year-long waiting periods.

“There is a misconception,” said Larry Shaw of Bloodsworks. “There’s a common myth that if you have a tattoo, you can’t donate blood. We absolutely want to change that.”

The myth makes sense because it used to be true.

Until about five years ago, the Food and Drug Administration required 12-month waiting periods for anyone with new ink.

The FDA relaxed the rules in Washington and some other states when the government started regulating and licensing local tattoo shops.

News can sometimes spread slowly. Many people with tattoos don’t know the rules have changed.

“That’s why we’re here today,” said Shaw.

Bloodworks Northwest says it is especially in need of people with O-Negative blood type.

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