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01.30.08

New Ordinance Would Scrutinize Hygiene at Tattoo, Piercing Shops

Posted in Piercing News at 4:28 pm by admin

Dozens of tattoo parlors and businesses that offer body piercing and other permanent cosmetic procedures in Castro Valley and throughout unincorporated Alameda County may soon come under increased hygienic scrutiny.

An ordinance that would regulate health standards for such shops came before the supervisors’ unincorporated services meeting in San Lorenzo last week. It is aimed at minimizing the possibility of spreading such blood-borne diseases as hepatitis C and HIV among body-art customers.

“We’re looking at implementing annual inspections that would cost $100 to $200 to cover everything in the ordinance,” said William Pitcher, of Alameda County’s Environmental Health Department. “We don’t expect this to be a big program, but we’d like to get a lot of these shops under surveillance.”

According to Pitcher, 60 to 70 body art shops exist in the unincorporated areas including San Lorenzo, South Hayward, Castro Valley and parts of Berkeley.

The new ordinance will come before the full board of supervisors this spring. If passed, businesses that failed to comply could have their permits revoked, face misdemeanor citations and even criminal complaints, with additional administration fees.

“I was actually impressed with the rough draft I saw,” said Mel Speed, who operates the only body-art shop in Castro Valley. “All in all, I was pleased with the concept and the things they want to do.”

Some four years ago, when Speed opened his shop, he based his operation on research he did into regulations already implemented in nearby cities and counties. “So I’m about 99.9 percent in compliance with what’s being proposed already,” he said.

Speed hopes the ordinance will encourage other body art shops to be mindful of customer health and safety, “There’s really not a day that goes by when we address a bad tattoo or piercing done at some other shop,” he said.

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