Where are the tattoo industry regulations?

Prior to opening the TBS doors to the public, I phoned Community Health and asked for an inspection of the studio and was met with this answer… ” Sir, we will never step foot in your establishment never mind do a health inspection”.  This statement was followed by a dial tone.

Three years latter at 10:30 in the morning I received a call from the CBC looking for information about piercing for a story about a teenage girl who had died of toxic shock from a nipple piercing.  She had been pierced in a home studio which was latter inspected by the Chief Coroner, who found the work space up to industry standards.  The next few weeks was a media barrage, everyday there was 2-3 interviews and everyone started the same…. “What do you mean there’s no legislation?”
That was March 2006, the Health Minster at the time, Tom Osborne promised legislation would be brought forth and as we approach March 2011 nothing has changed.

There is still no legislation governing Tattooing or Piercing in Newfoundland and Labrador.

So the question must be asked -WHY?

Is it a complicated process?  Is there no overseeing body capable of doing this job?  Does it really matter?

Sadly, this isn’t complicated. Things haven’t changed because there has been no public pressure for the government to act and therefore they act accordingly…. indifferent.  Without public pressure no motions will be brought forward and this will be lost in the sands of government neglect once again. So, what can be done… well the legislation exists in many different formats.  There is the federal level, Canadian Government Guidelines, found quite easily on their website but they are just base guidelines for the provinces.  If one wanted  a more specific basis, one could go to other provinces exsisting  legislation such as Alberta http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/Standards-Tattooing.pdf or any if the other provinces that have effectively enacted and enforce legislation.

As far as people capable of enforcing, well currently… no.  There are no trained Health Inspectors in the province but it really would not be that complicated to do.  Community Health should  have a mandate to do such inspections but their hands are tied do to outdated ordinances.  Under their charter, the closet thing to our industry is Barbarism, this would have been put into place back when barber shops provide small surgeries and stitches… a tad out of date.  For their charter to change it must be put before government, voted on then ratified.  Are you starting to see a common failure here.

Over the last day I have read some absolutely stupefying statements about my industry all stemming from a minor that received two piercings in some guy’s basement.  The mother of the child has brought forward the idiocies of a un-regulated industry.  While she feels betrayed do to lack of repercussions it all comes down to the basic fact that there is no legislation therefore no repercussions.

This allows minors to get tattooed  or pierced in shops and homes, this allows people with no concept of sterilization or blood borne pathogens to continue to operate, this allows people to set up studios with no knowledge of the industry and open their doors to the public, this allows people to operate without paying any taxes or licensing fees and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it… because THERE IS NO LEGISLATION!
The failure is obvious, what needs to change has even been laid out by every other province that has all ready been down this road.  The reality is we need to create a ground swell to motivate those in office to act.  Not an easy thing to do since they spend most of their time talking their way out of action but this is something we can not let go.  This is a very basic health issue.  If you feel secure about the sixteen year old at restaurant because you know there is someone overseeing their process shouldn’t you feel the same when permanently marking your body. Call your MP and let them know this needs to be an issued acted upon today!

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