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California: Valley Tattoo Shops, Artists Face Inspections

May 16, 2012

A law requiring California counties to enforce new safety rules for tattoo and body piercing shops goes into effect July 1. Under the Safe Body Art Act, these businesses will be subject to public health permitting, inspections and standards. The law will impact nearly 200 shops in Fresno County alone.

Currently, tattooing and body piercing are unregulated in much of the state -- meaning health inspectors do not ensure equipment is sterilized, shops are clean or practitioners are trained.

"This is long overdue," said Dave Olvera, manager of Tower Tattoos in Fresno's Tower District. "Fresno is known for its bad shops. There are people working out of their homes. I saw a tattoo shop operating out of a gas station." A health certificate from the county would reassure customers that safety standards are in place, he said.

The law requires shops to obtain annual permits from county health departments. It also requires individual practitioners to register. As part of registration, practitioners must undergo training on blood-borne diseases, get vaccinated against hepatitis B, and have more than six months' experience in their field.

Fresno County recently began mailing out notices about the law to known body art practitioners; however, health officials concede that others exist.

Back to other news for May 2012

Adapted from:
Fresno Bee
05.06.2012; Kurtis Alexander

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More HIV Prevention Policy News on California

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