Daily News of Los Angeles (07.02.12)
California’s Safe Body Art Act, in effect as of July 1, requires all tattoo and body artists statewide to comply with licensing, equipment sterilization, training, and other standards. AB 300 also prohibits anyone under age 18 from getting a tattoo, regardless of parental permission.
The measure goes beyond existing California Occupational Safety and Health requirements. Its sponsor, Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), said she was motivated in part by discovering there was previously no statewide regulation of the tattoo and body art industries. Of California’s 58 counties, only six had some type of regulations on the books.
Ma, who learned she had hepatitis B at age 22, said AB 300 is another step in preventing it and other blood-borne diseases like hepatitis C and HIV.
The American Red Cross requires prospective blood donors who have received a tattoo in an unregulated state to wait 12 months before giving blood. Regional ARC officials say they hope AB 300 will help boost donations. “Tattoos have become so mainstream, that unfortunately it impacts the number of people who are eligible to give here in Los Angeles,” said Nick Samaniego, spokesperson for ARC’s Southern California Region. “This is a great move that will hopefully increase the number of people who can donate blood when we need it.”
Studio City Tattoo owner Clay Clement said he fully supports the new regulations. “People need to feel safe,” he said. His shop demonstrates to visitors its one-way disposable system for needles, ink tubes, and razors. Trained artists use gloves, disinfecting wipes, and plastic wrap to ensure safety.
“We’re looking forward [to state regulations] because we’re already there,” said Clement. “You have to get a state license to cut hair. Why not in our industry?”