Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tattoo, body piercing had to be regulated

The tattoo and body-piercing industry badly needed to be regulated in the state. That’s why the General Assembly took the appropriate step recently in enforcing an amendment that was passed in 2002 – an amendment that had been unused due to a lack of administrative regulation. Under the new regulations, beginning April 1, children under the age of 18 must have written, notarized permission from their parents in order to get a tattoo or a piercing. Body-piercing businesses would also have to apply for registration and a certificate from the local health department. This is just common sense. Local health departments, which will be regulating the facilities, will be making routine checks to ensure that businesses are following state guidelines. Enforcement is crucial in order for this to work. Another vital part of the amendment holds piercing businesses to the same health guidelines as tattoo parlors. This will ensure that the facilities use sanitized tools to perform their procedures. It could also cut down on diseases that are spread through the use of needles and unsanitary practices. Most business owners weren’t upset with the new law and actually say that they welcome it. Jon Fowler, manager of Topper’s Fineline Tattoos and Pro Body Piercing, said that the new regulations wouldn’t affect his business much. “We followed the regulations of cleanliness before, too, but it’s about time they passed some regulation,” Fowler said. “Some people get in this industry and don’t take it seriously. They just get into it for the dollar bills.” Others in the business, such as Brad Ausbrooks, tattoo artist at Artistic Encounter, said that the law might actually help because it would make 18-year-olds want a tattoo or piercing more. This could be true, and when they turn 18 it is ultimately their choice. But at least they will have a few years to mature before making that critical decision. Under these guidelines, the tattoo and body-piercing businesses will be better regulated and some children will make more informed decisions at 18 than they would at an earlier age.