Friday, July 01, 2005

Underage Body Piercing

Underage Body Piercing
Body piercings are becoming increasingly popular, especially among teenagers. There are rules regarding how old you have to be to get the work done, but apparently not everyone’s abiding by them.
You may consider body piercing a modern mark of self-expression, but this tradition is actually believed to have started five-thousand-years ago.
Of course, times have changed. Now many states and cities regulate body piercing.
For instance, in Philadelphia, if you’re under 18 - you have to bring a parent along. And both of you must show I-D. If you’re under 16 - you also have to have a doctor’s note.
“Do all the piercers here follow those age requirements and do they know what they are?”“Yeah.”So how did 16-year-old Karen get this? “Karen”/DOYLESTOWN, PA.:
“I still like it. I’m glad I got it done.”Her father isn’t. He says he knew nothing about the piercing until it was too late. “Jack”/DOYLESTOWN, PA.:
“I’m still upset.”“I can’t believe that a decision that I was entitled to make was taken away from me for sixty dollars.”Karen says she got her piercing at Fat’s Tat on South Street without either parent present. So we got curious - would Fat’s Tat break the law with our hidden cameras rolling? To find out - we sent in a 17-year-old volunteer who asked for a nose piercing. She is never asked for identification and the piercer is just about to execute the procedure before our minor calls it quits.
“The girl you see in the chair is under 18 and he’s just about to pierce her nose. What do you think about that?”“Terrible.”But this same Piercer who tells us his name is Tom looks a lot like the guy in our undercover video and doesn’t seem all that remorseful. This doesn’t disturb you or bother you?”“Not really. It happens once in a while.”“Jack”:
“They should be out of business. I think that this city needs to do something about it.”So we showed our video to Philadelphia’s Department of Health and Safety. Richard Zipin/PHILA. DEPT. OF HEALTH:
“This is a very serious issue.”Inspector Richard Zipin is in charge of monitoring body piercing establishments. “This individual at this shop should have asked for that identification and made records of that allegation by the individual that they are that age to retain that for the records.”The attorney for Fats Tats says the owner is appalled by our findings. He says quote, “it’s a shame. We apologize. It shouldn’t have happened and we will do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Fats Tats also says all piercers are independent contractors and Tom is no longer allowed on the premises. Action News did visit a number of body piercing shops in Philadelphia and in New Jersey. Fats Tat was the only one that did not ask our underage volunteer for identification.