Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

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.

Underground artists operating out of their homes are the problem, said some shop owners.

"If they don't go after people who are working out of their house and not compliant, what is the point?" asked Dave O'Connor, owner of Sacramento Tattoo. O'Connor and others said the best practitioners are trained on blood-borne pathogens and did 90 percent of what is required by the law.

Nonetheless, the new rules prompted changes at local shops, including new sinks with touch-free faucets, new cleaning regimens, and updated paperwork.

Back to other news for August 2012

Excerpted from:
Sacramento Bee
08.24.2012; Ed Fletcher

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. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.