The increasing popularity of tattoos and body piercing has prompted some local tattoo businesses to call for better health regulations.
They want Arizona to enact legislation for the industry to keep their customers safe.
The state does not regulate the tattoo industry. Coconino and Pima counties, however, have comprehensive ordinances in place, said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. Also, the city of Phoenix governs tattoo shops through its special-permit process.
The Arizona Tattoo and Body Piercing Association has tried unsuccessfully to get laws passed by the Arizona Legislature, said board member Thomas Preston, owner of Valley tattoo parlor Virtual Reality.
Yellowpages.com lists 35 tattoo parlors in Phoenix, more than 50 across the Valley and about 200 statewide. But many individuals also offer tattoo services in their homes.
“People who are tattooing out of their homes have no health regulations,” Preston said. “We would like to see at least some kind of regulations so they have to follow certain health codes to make sure no one is getting diseases.”
Humble said it is a public health issue because tattoo artists must use clean needles.
“There is a theoretical possibility that if you used bad techniques, you could spread Hepatitis B or C through blood-borne pathogens,” he said.
Those receiving tattoos need to follow up and keep their skin clean.
“It’s a wound,” Humble said. “You’re intentionally wounding your skin. Until your skin heals, you’re leaving a vehicle open for a secondary infection.”
State laws are changing across the country for tattoo artists and body piercing shops. Some pending bills, if passed, would require biannual inspections; registration with local health departments; taking courses in blood-borne pathogens and tattoo infection control; CPR certification; apprenticeship programs with mandated hours of hands-on-experience; and American Red Cross first aid certification.
So far, Preston’s group has not found an Arizona legislator to sponsor such a bill, but he said he’s not giving up.
“We’ll be trying every year to get legislation,” he said.
Read more: Group pushing for regulation of tattoo industry - Phoenix Business Journal