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Consumer Watch: Temporary Tattoo Artist Returns To Oklahoma State Fair

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Amanda Taylor, News9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma teenager says he got a nasty rash from something he got at the state fair. That launched a Consumer Watch investigation involving the State Health Department and even a state legislator.

One year later, our Consumer Watch Team returned to the fair and found the same artist is drawing on people's skin again.

It all started at the State Fair in 2010 when Mason Dickerson got a cross and his girlfriend's name inked on his back.

"I just thought it was cool," Dickerson said.

But a few weeks later, when the ink started to fade, it left behind a red rash. His mom took him to the doctor.

"He said basically it's a chemical burn," Julia Blood said. "It may fade over time. It may not."

It's believed the artist, Orhan Erkin, used what's known as Black Henna. Instead of natural Henna, which comes from a plant and is considered safe, Black Henna is typically hair dye containing a chemical known as PPD, a chemical the FDA says is illegal to use directly on the skin.

11/24/2010 Related Story: Consumer Watch: Oklahoma Teen's Temporary Tattoo May Not Be Temporary

The Consumer Watch Team returned to the fair this year and found Orhan Erkin and his booth, a popular one at that, especially with teenagers. No signs of Black Henna, but to be sure, our producer asked him.

Producer: "What kind of ink are you using?"

Erkin: "It's Henna."

Producer: "Is it natural Henna?"

Erkin: "Natural Henna."

He couldn't provide us anything in writing stating what was in his ink. But state fair officials tell us they've taken steps to make sure customers are safe.

"We've had multiple discussions with the gentleman from the Henna tattoos and we have a contract with him that states he won't use any products that contain PPD or any illegal substances," State Fair Spokesperson, Scott Munz said.

While the FDA regulates what's in Black Henna, they don't regulate the application of it. So if you want a temporary tattoo, make sure to ask what's in it. If they can't tell you, walk away.

As for Mason, his tattoo is only slightly visible.

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