Riverside County supervisors tentatively approved an ordinance Tuesday establishing health standards and safety regulations for tattoo parlors and other body art businesses.
The measure, which would be enforced by the county’s Department of Environmental Health, is set for a public hearing next Tuesday.
Under the ordinance, the approximately 100 body artists with operations in the county’s unincorporated communities — and in cities that do not have their own health departments — would be required to register their businesses by filing an application, establish “exposure containment” plans that prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis and permit regular inspections by county personnel.
Shop owners would have to demonstrate adherence to sterilization procedures for body-piercing and tattooing equipment and ensure used products are properly discarded. They would also have to comply with state law and
refuse to tattoo, pierce or otherwise permanently alter the features of a person younger than 18 without parental consent.
With other board members’ backing, Supervisor Jeff Stone, a practicing pharmacist, added a number of provisions to “strengthen” the proposed ordinance.
The supervisor introduced the changes after citing literature indicating that “30 percent of new piercings require medical attention” and “eight out of 1,000 piercings require emergency room treatment.”
The provisions Stone submitted included:
– a mandate that body artists use sterile gloves in addition to
– any procedure that involves piercing a customer’s butt, genitalia or
breast be witnessed by a second person;
– business permits be clearly displayed; and,
– that any practitioner of permanent cosmetics submit a thumb print to
the state as part of the application process.
Stone also wanted a prohibition against any sex registrant working in a body art business. Under California law, any person convicted of a sex crime must register their whereabouts with law enforcement for life as a condition of their parole.
The supervisor recommended a letter-grade system, similar to restaurants, in which health inspectors rate the quality of an establishment on an A-F scale, with grades being posted in a shop’s window.
The ordinance comes about a year after the county’s Grand Jury criticized the Department of Environmental Health for a laxity in holding tattoo parlors and other body art businesses to tough standards.
According to the grand jury report, applications furnished by the department often failed to ensure that permanent cosmetics providers passed a safety class, obtained a facility permit, established an exposure containment plan and retained a copy of the county’s health code.
~City News Service