New rules pierce industry

Brianna Bodine

Brianna Bodine

Brianna Bodine

Brianna Bodine

Brianna Bodine

More than April Fools’ pranks occurred on April 1st – regulations set by the Kentucky Health Department were put into effect, making it a law that body piercing studios and limited ear piercing studios obtain a certification in order to operate.

Not only must studios obtain a certification after passing an inspection by the Health Department, but individual piercers will need to be certified as well.

“This is a needed idea, I feel like with the Health Department getting involved it will help with drawing out people who do piercing [who] probably shouldn’t be,” said Chelsie Iscoe, master piercer at Mothers Tattoo and Piercing Studio in Covington, Ky.

New Regulations

With the new law in effect, approximately 50 new studios will be added to the Health Department’s list. Each new studio will have to be inspected, along with the seven other tattoo studios that have been under inspection since the early 1990s.

Their inspections include studios in Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton counties.

Ear piercing studios will undergo certification along with body piercing studios. The facilities, and each individual piercer, will be inspected and certified. However, on the certification it will highlight that the facility and piercer are limited to ears only and that there should be no other body parts pierced.

“I’m hoping that…the standards of piercing will increase. Many people don’t realize that when you’re having a piercing done and you’re breaking the skin, you are opening yourself up to the chance of disease, which can happen during a piercing or when the aftercare process begins,” Iscoe said.

Some of the regulations set in order for studios to be in compliance with the law included:

* The health and cleanliness of the facility

* Sterilization of body piercing instruments and equipment

* Single use of needles

* Hand washing

* Wearing of gloves

* Appropriate records of sterilization procedures and clients receiving service

A new requirement added to the list is that anyone under18 years of age must now present written, notarized consent of a parent or legal guardian before they can be tatooed or pierced.

“Personally, I agree with all of the regulations, but the newest one states anyone under the age of 18 can obtain a tattoo or piercing with a notarized consent,” Iscoe said.

“In our studio we must have a parent present.”

Sifting out the bad apples

Along with Iscoe, health envirnomentalist Rick Marksberry agreed that having the Health Department involved in the piercing practice will slow down the questionable operations, and will help sift out studios that aren’t be doing the safest thing for themselves or their clients.

The Health Department is glad to see a push coming from the piercing and tattoo industry to get the state legislation more involved and help to set higher standards for their operations.

Playing the enforcer

The Kentucky Health Department will make routine stops in all of the piercing studios at least twice a year, just like they do to tattoo parlors.

“Normally when the inspector comes through he does give us a call that morning before he comes. But there are times when he will stop in unannounced, which I think is a good idea because it keeps you on your toes and it allows the inspector to really see if you are working within the proper standards,” Iscoe said.

As an overall gesture to help in the process of informing the community of pathogens and disease transmission, the Health Department has posted which tattoo studios have met the criteria on its Web site.

The Health Department is working to inspect body piercing and limited ear piercing studios to see if all the studios meet the regulations, and they will be posting those results soon.