Invoice seeks to place tattoo, microblading and piercings below state regulation

SALT LAKE CITY – Richard Dohoney prides itself on the health and safety standards at his downtown tattoo parlor.

“We always try to keep our heads in everything that they ask of us,” he said of the regulations of the Ministry of Health.

Owning Big Deluxe Tattoo, Dohoney is helping legislation work on Capitol Hill, Utah, aimed at bringing tattoo and body art studios under uniform state health regulations. He has some concerns about pop-up operations shared on social media with artists who have just bought equipment off the internet and have little to no experience.

“The reason we know about this is because we’re fixing all of this stuff,” he said.

At best, Dohoney said it was “an oatmeal” from a tattoo that was supposed to look like a portrait of grandma. In the worst case scenario, it comes with a serious infection.

“Suddenly your friends are covered in bad tattoo work and hopefully you don’t have staph or MRSA or anything else or even no hepatitis,” he told FOX 13.

Big Deluxe Tattoo is one of a number of tattoo and piercing salons that has consulted with the Utah Department of Health on best practices that could be included in an upcoming bill by MP Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake.

“There are a lot of tattoo sites that use expired ink or use unsanitary equipment and so this is really important for anything skin and blood and microblading,” she said in an interview with FOX 13.

Rep. Ballard urges uniform health and safety standards across the state. Currently, health regulations may vary by county.

“This defines the different types of body art and allows the Department of Health to oversee the disinfection part of their business,” she said.

Rep. Ballard’s bill was presented to the Legislature’s Interim Committee on Health and Human Services in October. But there was no progress. MEPs on the committee expressed concerns that there were insufficient definitions while others wanted to hear more from industry representatives. It is expected that Rep. Ballard will revise the bill and submit it for the legislative period beginning January 2022.

Rep. Ballard said it was a matter of consumer health and safety.

“They expect hygiene guidelines and procedures to be put in place. So this will help make the public feel safe, ”she said.

Dohoney said he doesn’t want “overregulation” or is trying to stifle competition by pushing for more hours of artist experience and specific safety standards. Other tattoo artists use social media to warn consumers to take steps to ensure they have a qualified artist.

Dohoney said anyone looking to get tattooed or pierced should always ask questions to make sure a studio is using the best methods of disinfection.

“Never be nervous or embarrassed, or don’t hesitate to ask about sterility measures,” he said. “You should always see that the utensils we use are from brand new, sterilized packaging.”

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