These new regulations address every aspect of the tattoo and body piercing procedure, from the way the tools are packaged, to the professionalism of the artist, to the application to the customer. One major factor addressed is the sterilization process. The regulations state all tattoo and body piercing facilities must maintain an ultrasonic cleaning unit and operational medical grade autoclave for the sterilization of instruments. They also describe the process for proper cleaning and sterilization. Stephen Dunn, one of Boulevard Tattoo's Body Artists, says even though he already follows these sterilization processes, it isn't what most people are concerned about.
Dunn is on the board at the Health Department as a consultant for these new regulations... he says the benefit is Tattoo and Body Piercing facilities will be held to a higher standard for cleanliness. However, he says the increased expense of higher quality jewelry and licensing costs could have the opposite effect.
Christine Buffington at the Houston County Health Department says regular inspections of these facilities will lead to consequences for those who don't adhere to the higher standards.
She adds sometimes it isn't the artist's fault if problems arise after the procedure.
For this reason, regulations are also in place for the after care procedures artists must explain to clients... in order to avoid infection.
These extensive regulations are in the final revision stages by the Health Department. There is currently no set date for when they will go into effect, but officials hope it will be as soon as possible. Once they are approved by the County Board of Health they will be sent to the local government for a final vote before taking effect.