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12.12.07

A hole in rules for body piercing?

Posted in Piercing News at 10:29 am by admin

Call it the cartilage wars. In one corner, Claire’s Stores and other piercers of adolescent ears. In the other, hard-core body piercing shops.

The battle: Can retail piercing shops like Claire’s use piercing guns on the upper ear, not just the earlobes? Santa Clara County supervisors are being urged today to say yes by amending rules laid down in 2006.

Currently, stores that pierce only earlobes don’t have to follow some rules that began last year for body piercing and tattoo shops. They include getting permission from parents if a client is under age 18.

Nicole Pullman, a county environmental health manager, said her department has been persuaded by Claire’s employees that their use of guns is safe on upper ears, so extra precautions aren’t required.

But at least one local body piercing shop is calling the proposed change a loophole, no pun intended.

“I’m outraged,” said Bil Brierley, owner of Body Exotic in San Jose. He said using guns that work by forcing earrings through the skin invites infection and other nastiness, so they should not be allowed on the cartilage-filled upper ear.

Pullman said Claire’s employees have told her there’s “a minimum of cartilage” in that part of the ear.

A Claire’s spokeswoman in New York said she was unable to reach executives to respond Monday afternoon.

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