Some changes in tattoo certification needed, but not new age limitations

Ben Sadkowski/Staff Writer

In the past decade, the number of tattoo artists in Iowa has more than quadrupled. Although this drastic rise is an indication of the popularity of body art, it also brings with it the issues of regulation and safety.

The Department of Health in Iowa feels that it is time for a change after having no updates in rules and fees since 1989.
The new rules are met with mixed feelings. Most artists are in favor of the increased safety regulations, which include training on how to prevent infections, but, on the other hand, they oppose the rise in fees.

The main issue, it seems, is to crack down on minors who are tattooing without a permit or training. It is extremely easy to begin tattooing due to the ease of acquiring equipment through the Internet.

The current risk of being caught tattooing illegally is also relatively small unless some disgruntled individual actually makes the effort to report the tattoo artist.

The regulation of image quality is relatively weak, utilized in just a few states not including Iowa. Image quality is relatively difficult to regulate because a lot of it comes down to opinion and would raise a great amount of debate if it were to come into effect.

Should the rules not come into effect, a plethora of health effects could remain, including infections caused from needles, the most deadly of which being AIDS.

AIDS is, of course, a deadly epidemic, and the regulation of tattoos, which use needles that could spread infection, would help deflate the rates at which AIDS is being spread.

In my own personal opinion I believe that the increase in health standards is a good idea because it helps protect the recipients of tattoos. Also, the existence of unlicensed tattoo artists will always exist, so instead of trying to arrest every underage artist, there should be no cutoff age to become a tattoo artist.

If young people are willing to go through all the certification and purchase all the equipment, then they should be considered passionate enough about the art to be considered safe artists.

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