Looking for a unique gift for Valentines Day? Maybe a tattoo or piercing?
Erie County has regulations governing the operation of Body Art Establishments (Tattoo and Piercing Studios).
If you are thinking of having a tattoo done at home or at a Tattoo party that’s a definite no no.
Look For The Certificate
There are 12 licensed Tattoo and Piercing Studios throughout Erie County. The Health Department inspects these establishments annually for numerous health and safety concerns. Any legal Tattoo or Piecing Studio will have a certificate posted at their studio from the Erie County Department of Health. This means the establishment has passed requirements in the following areas: 1) tattoo artists and piercers have taken and passed a blood borne pathogen course 2) their studio has proper hand washing facilities, germicidal soap, and gloves 3) equipment is properly cleaned and sanitized 4) sterilization and autoclave records are retained 5) all medical waste is disposed of properly. So when thinking about getting “ink” or a piercing it is your right to ask to see the Health Department Certificate. ds
Studios are decorated differently depending on the owner, but they all must maintain proper sanitation and cleanliness. Ask to see that equipment is properly sterilized and dated, make sure good hand washing is performed and new gloves are worn every time the artist leaves and returns to the work area. Make sure they clean the chair or table you are getting the tattoo or piercing on. If you think something is wrong make sure you ask. All good tattoo artists and piercers are more than happy to show you how clean their studio is. This keeps customers coming back.
Don't Do This At Home
A word of caution: DO NOT let anyone tattoo or pierce you at your home or at tattoo/piercing parties even if the artist has passed a blood borne pathogen course or supplies other credentials. These places have not been inspected or certified and the risk of infection is much greater. You will have that tattoo or piercing the rest of your life and you don’t need to start on the wrong foot by getting an infection that requires medical attention. In closing, if you desire something different this holiday season by getting a tattoo or piercing, do it safely.
Finding The Right Body Art Establishment
All licensed Body Art Establishments are listed on the Health Department's website at www.ecdh.org.
By Jeff Bresslin, Environmental Health Technician III
Erie County Department of Health
Published in the Erie TimesNews, December 2008
This information is distributed by Erie County Department of Health, 606 W. 2nd Street, Erie, PA 16507, 814-451-6700, www.ecdh.org