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U.S. News

California Counties Step Up Tattoo Shop Inspections

August 29, 2012

New state legislation that became effective in July requires tattoo and piercing shops to register and pass safety tests. Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) said she authored the bill to protect people from hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.

"I wanted to do something about this to ensure diseases would not be shared through needles," Ma said.

The legislation allows counties to charge fees, which will fund the annual inspections. "It's the intent of this law to protect the client and the artist," said Anne Frey, an environmental specialist in Sacramento County, which charges practitioners $142 a year. A green "pass" placard can be placed in the shop's window after a positive inspection. County officials say there are more than 175 sites, but just 47 have been inspected.

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