Pa. sets new tattoo regulations


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I love tattoos.

I think when done by an experienced tattoo artist they can really be something to appreciate.

Although the end result can look amazing, the process to get a tattoo can be painful and exhausting.

Think about it, a tiny needle is being pressed into your skin repeatedly, and the marks it leaves behind are permanent.

Getting a tattoo can be exciting, but I also think it is a responsibility as well — Not just for the individual getting a tattoo, but for the tattoo artist as well.

I decided to look into what kind of laws Pennsylvania requires of tattoo parlors, seeing as how they are dealing with piercing or engraving ink on someone’s body.

According to attorney and blog writer Tom Beveridge, on April 23, 2013, legislation was presented to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to regulate tattoo shops and practices throughout Pennsylvania.

State Rep. Rosemary M. Brown, R-189th, introduced the The Body Art Establishment Regulation Act, HB1249, to the House in April of this year but was initially rejected by the Committee on Health.

On June 3, 2013 an amended copy of the bill was sent to the House and later approved.

The Body Art Establishment Regulation Act states that the Pennsylvania Department of Health must set restriction, for tattoo parlors across the state.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature’s website, the new restrictions for tattoos in Pennsylvania, are as follows:

Tattoo or piercing establishments must purchase a $100 license fee in order to practice. The fee expires annually, and must be repurchased.

Tattoo artists are to undergo training for tattoos themselves, as well as learning how to handle needles and CPR in the event that a client passes out.

The Department of Health also has the authority now to conduct random inspections of tattoo shops across the state whenever it would like to ensure parlors are sanitary and safe for clients.

There are numerous other stipulations in the bill, but these points stood out the most for me.
For one thing, why have these laws not been in existence already?

Tattoos bring the risk of diseases like staph infections, and hepatitis.

These are serious health risks and I am surprised that Pennsylvania has not already regulated tattooing practices like this up until recently.

I am all for tattoos, but I feel like these regulations make sense and are reassuring to clients who wish to get a tattoo.

If I am going to invest in a permanent work of art on my body I want to know that one, my tattoo will meet my expectations, and two, that the establishment where I am getting my tattoo is responsible enough to ensure that my health will not be affected, and this bill forces that to happen.

Now, I am not saying that every tattoo shop in Pennsylvania, is dirty and this bill is being created to get them to clean up their act.

There are dozens of very reputable tattoo shops all over this state that genuinely care about the happiness of their clients. This bill honestly will not affect them if they are already taking these precautions.

I do not want to suggest that every shop is careless.

The tattoo shops in Shippensburg are examples of responsible shops.

Tattoos are fun and these laws just make me want one even more.

I may be terrified of needles, and have a low pain tolerance, but still, now I have more peace of mind, and am ready to get a tattoo.


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