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General Information

State of Alabama
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Alabama Body Art Sterilization Guidelines

420-3-23-.09 Sanitation and sterilization procedures.
(1) Instrument cleaning - All non-single use, non-disposable instruments used for body art shall be cleaned thoroughly after each use by scrubbing with an appropriate soap or detergent solution and hot water or follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove blood and tissue residue, and placed in an ultrasonic unit which shall also be operated in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

(2) Instruments packaged following cleaning - After cleaning, all non-disposable instruments used for body art shall be packaged individually in peel-packs and subsequently sterilized. All peel-packs shall contain either a sterilizer indicator or internal temperature indicator. Peel-packs must be dated and may be used as long as the package integrity has not been breached.

(3) Instrument sterilization -

(a) All cleaned, non-disposable instruments and jewelry used for body art shall be sterilized in a steam autoclave or dry heat sterilizer. Equipment used for sterilization shall be used, cleaned, and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions. A copy of the manufacturer's recommended procedures for the operation of their sterilization unit must be available for inspection by the Department.

(b) The use of equipment not specifically designed for medical instrument sterilization, such as, but not limited to, food pressure cookers, microwave ovens, and baking ovens, is prohibited.

(4) Package integrity - Sterile equipment shall not be used if the package integrity has been breached. If the package integrity is breached, the equipment shall be removed from the package, and cleaned and sterilized as required in sections (1) and (2) of this rule.

(5) Location of sterilizers, when required - Sterilizers shall be located away from work stations or areas frequented by the public. If the body art facility uses all single use, disposable instruments and products, and utilizes sterile supplies, an autoclave shall not be required.

(6) Sterilizer efficacy testing - Each holder of a license to operate a body art facility shall demonstrate that the sterilizer used is capable of attaining sterilization by conducting monthly spore destruction tests. These tests shall be verified through an independent laboratory. The license shall not be issued or renewed until documentation of the sterilizer's ability to destroy spores is determined by the Department. These test records shall be retained by the operator for a period of three (3) years and made available to the Department upon request.


(7) Storage of sterilized instruments and other instruments and supplies - Unless received from the manufacturer as a sterile instrument and in a package maintaining sterility and package integrity, all needles used in tattooing and cosmetic tattooing shall be cleaned and sterilized prior to use and stored in peel-packs. After sterilization, the instruments used for tattooing/body piercing shall be stored in a dry, clean cabinet or other tightly covered container reserved for the storage of such instruments. All other instruments and supplies shall be stored in clean, dry and covered containers.

(8) Sanitization and disinfection of surfaces - Procedure surfaces, counter tops used for equipment assembly, and any other similar surfaces where necessary shall be cleaned and sanitized with a disinfectant solution after each client.

(9) Reusable cloth items - Reusable cloth items shall be mechanically washed with detergent and dried after each use. The cloth items shall be stored in a dry, clean environment until used. Soiled cloth items shall be stored in a manner to preclude contamination of any clean items, equipment, or instruments.

(10) Clean techniques required - All instruments used for tattooing/body piercing shall remain stored in sterile packages until just prior to performing a body art procedure. When assembling instruments used for performing body art procedures, the operator shall wear disposable single-use gloves and use clean techniques to ensure that the instruments and gloves are not contaminated.

AUTHORS: Ronald Dawsey and Charlotte Denton
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Section 22-17A-7, Code of Alabama, 1975.


EFFECTIVE DATE: May 4, 2001

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