Need to Regulate Tattoo Parlours

photo by Lazar Govedarica

A tattoo is an indelible mark or figures fixed upon the body by insertion of pigments under the skin and it is fast becoming an act that puts food on the tables of many in Ireland. Every day on the streets of Ireland, men, women and even teenagers are seen with body marks. How they get them, where they get it done, state of tools used is really not known. For them, having a tattoo is just it.

This alarming rate of tattoos among residents of Ireland has prompted a report on the state of Tattoo parlours in Dublin. With over a thousand of them, the question is, how many of them are regulated? With the high increase of HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Hepatitis, Herpes Simplex Virus, Staph, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, one would wonder what the government is doing to check activities of Unregulated Tattoo parlours. Other wellbeing hazards include poor cleanliness, swelling at the tattoo sites and development of keloids.

 

Dolores Murray; a tattoo artist, owner of the tattoo parlour “Wildcat Tattoo studio” and also the person-in-charge of “Association of Body Modification Artist in Ireland” says, “Tattoo artists do not undergo any formal training before starting up the business, Tattoo parlours are not even registered, anyone can just decide to set up anywhere and as a result the high risk of infection which is not good for the industry”

“Some of these artists have made complaints to the Government to regulate this industry,” she says.

In the absence of a statutory framework being in place by the Health Service Executive(HSE), Environmental Health Officers and the Department of Health, there are individuals out of inadmissible premises, who know nothing about the business and restorative responses brought about by the ink can simply open in light of the fact that there is no formal guideline.

There is no official record for figures of investigated tattoo parlours and individuals who have been tainted by unsanitary needles, even though there have been complaints made by some infected persons to the Health and Safety Association(HSA) and also the Health Service Executive(HSE) notified.

“No high profile case has ever been reported,” she says.

In spite of setting up the Association of Body Modification Artists in Ireland (ABMAI) which was established six years ago to control the business for a superior standard getting participation from craftsmen and furthermore the Government is low as the Government continues saying there have all the more problems that are begging to be addressed.

 

photoby Stéphanie Schoene

There are a lot of unpractised craftsmen opening tattoo parlours here in Ireland. Some of them do not even want to learn about the industry or develop their craft to provide a better service. These artists do not even check their clients’ medical history to know if the ink would cause any reaction on their skin.

“They are currently EU guideline on Hygiene and Tattooing which might be published in July 2019 and she hopes it is finalized by then,” she says.

In 2015, the former Minister for Health Leo Varadkar pledged to present authority rules for tattoos and body-piercing parlours so as to ensure the strength of both clients and practitioners to obtain safety regulations in place. His successor Simon Harris who is currently the Minister of Health and the HSE are as yet concluding these rules and don’t consider it to be a matter of concern to the Department of Health.

“Notwithstanding the way that tattoos have been extremely well known the legislature has neglected to keep pace and guarantee a decent wellbeing and security organization in the tattoo business,” says Kenneth Smith.

Since there are no guidelines, the HSE and the Environmental Health officers don’t make routine checks notwithstanding when the two associations realize the wellbeing hazard included.

“I am scared to even go for proper medical check-ups to know if I have been infected by contaminated equipment ever since I got my tattoo done,” says Kenneth Smith.

However, where a tattoo or body piercing business has been implicated as a possible source in a case of a confirmed scheduled notifiable disease, such cases can be investigated by the HSE Environmental Health Service in conjunction with the HSE Public Health Service under the provisions of S.I. No. 390/1981 – Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 and Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 276 of 2016) says the Department of Health.

“It is not our job to inspect tattoo parlours,” says the HSE.

photo by Mario Hühne

“There is currently no bill or plans in introducing a legislative bill in regulating tattoo parlours,” says Environment Health Officer.

For the reality likewise that some tattoo parlours additionally acknowledge customers beneath the age of 18 without consent from guardians or from their parents is disturbing and more reason the Minister of Health Simon Harris should pay attention to this issue and also set add limits. Getting a tattoo is a deep-rooted choice and ought to be made by just grown-ups.

“With respect to consent, including the age of consent, under the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1935, tattooing and body piercing may be construed as a criminal offence if proper informed consent is not obtained; or in the case of minors, if tattooing or body piercing is carried out on certain parts of the body, with or without consent. Consequently, any queries are relating to these issues would be a matter for a Garda Siochana and the Department of Justice and Equality.” Says Simon Harris.

However, this law has not been put in action as there have been complaints about cases of minors getting tattoos and body piercings by some tattoo parlours in Ireland and none have received justice.