Florida: Body-Piercing Issue Full of Sticking Points
January 8, 2002
Teenagers receiving body piercings at illegal parlors or sticking themselves with kits bought off of the Internet could acquire a deadly infection, according to state health officials. The practice could lead to HIV infection or to hepatitis B, as well as other diseases, said Michael Spindell, the biomedical waste coordinator of the Florida Department of Health.
Many teens getting their bellybuttons, eyebrows, tongues and other parts pierced are not using licensed professionals as required by Florida law, and many of those under 18 are skirting the requirement of parental consent, according to Spindell. He said his Fort Lauderdale office received about 15 complaints last year, mostly from parents who said their kids were illegally pierced. "About 60 percent are about people getting pierced that are underage," Spindell said. "Generally speaking, those occur in facilities that are unlicensed -- in head shops, gothic clothing stores and some bars."
Florida law requires that people younger than 18 getting pierced have the written and notarized permission of their parents. For people under 16, a parent must come to the parlor and show proof of parenthood. The law requires that piercers be licensed and use sterile, new needles with every procedure. The state health department and Broward County are now reviewing piercing operations and beginning to crack down on illegal operators.
01.06.02; Adrienne P. Samuels
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.