Customers of a tattoo artist in the North Sydney area are being warned about a potential health risk due to tattooed and piercing instruments that were not properly sterilized.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority said anyone who was tattooed by Jeff Day, either privately or through Bar Town Tattoos & Piercing, may be at an increased risk of contracting an illness.

“This is a precautionary measure,” said Dr. Frank Atherton, Nova Scotia’s acting medical officer of health, in a news release.

“While so far in this case we have not identified a link between someone getting a tattoo or piercing and developing any illness or infection, there is still a risk. We know the tattoo artist has worked in the area for the past couple of years. That is why we are asking customers to get tested.”

The health authority said inspectors met with Day and checked his tattooing equipment and reviewed his practices, including sterilization methods, after receiving a complaint.

“We determined that his practices do not currently ensure the health and safety of customers,” said Atherton.

The health authority said Day is cooperating and that other tattoo establishments are being reviewed to determine whether proper sterilization methods are being used.

Using tattoo and piercing instruments that are not properly sterilized can lead to the spread of blood-borne illnesses, including hepatitis B and C and HIV.

Anyone who may be at risk is asked to contact their family physician to be tested. Those without a family doctor may visit their local emergency department.