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Hall County agency will begin regulating tattoo businesses

New rules for parlors go into effect Jan. 1

POSTED: December 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Hall County Board of Health broke new ground when it laid down fees and regulations for area tattoo parlors.

Chad Harper, an environmental health specialist with the Board of Health, said until recently there were so few body art establishments in the area that regulations were not necessary.

"In the past, there was one, two (shops) at the most," Harper said. "This is uncharted territory for us."

An online search lists some six tattoo shops located in Hall County.

The Board of Health will require each technician, a tattoo or piercing artist, to obtain a $50 permit and each body art establishment to purchase a $275 permit. For each subsequent year, each establishment would pay a $150 annual fee, and each technician a $20 fee.

But despite the new charges, Harper said the Board of Health received positive feedback from tattoo shops regarding the regulations.

"I think it’s wonderful," said Jerry Potter, co-owner of Underground Ink in Oakwood. "They need to be regulated."

Potter explained that having a permit and a clean inspection from the Board of Health will help reassure customers that he runs a clean and professional business.

"I personally would not get a tattoo in a shop if I walked in and I did not see a health department certification hanging on the wall. That lets me know that when I come in the door that these people are held to a standard," Potter said.

Potter said he has been running his shop using the rules and regulations he learned in other areas that required permits.

The goal of the regulations is to prevent any potential health hazards as the popularity of body art rises.

"This is mainly for health reasons," Harper said. "We’re more or less looking at cleanliness."

Potter said tattoos and piercings can be dangerous if someone who is not trained performs them uses instruments that are not sterile.

"It gives a regulation for a code to get rid of all these shops that are working illegally," Potter said. "Somebody I saw the other day who had gotten staph infection had gotten a tattoo in somebody’s kitchen. As a whole, when a doctor sees that, a doctor doesn’t know if that came out of a shop or not, so basically it makes the industry as a whole look bad."

The body art fees and regulations will go into effect Jan. 1.



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