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General Information

State of Virginia
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Virgina Body Art Sterilization Guidelines

Virginia Code
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns.
CHAPTER 9. GENERAL POWERS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.
ARTICLE 1. Public Health and Safety; Nuisances.
15.2-912. Regulation of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons; definition; exception. --

A. Any locality may by ordinance regulate the sanitary condition of the personnel, equipment and premises of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons and specify procedures for enforcement of compliance with the disease control and disclosure requirements of §§ 18.2-371.3.

B. For the purposes of this section:

"Body-piercing salon" means any place in which a fee is charged for the act of penetrating the skin to make a hole, mark, or scar, generally permanent in nature. "Body piercing" does not include the use of a mechanized, presterilized ear-piercing system that penetrates the outer perimeter or lobe of the ear or both.

"Tattoo parlor" means any place in which is offered or practiced the placing of designs, letters, scrolls, figures, symbols or any other marks upon or under the skin of any person with ink or any other substance, resulting in the permanent coloration of the skin, including permanent make-up or permanent jewelry, by the aid of needles or any other instrument designed to touch or puncture the skin.

C. This section shall not apply to medical doctors, veterinarians, registered nurses or any other medical services personnel licensed pursuant to Title 54.1 in performance of their professional duties.

D. Localities requiring regulation of tattoo parlors and piercing salons by ordinance shall include in such ordinance authorization for unannounced inspections by appropriate personnel of the locality.

(1983, c. 429, §§ 15.1-28.3; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 842; 2001, c. 270.)

Virginia Code
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally.
CHAPTER 8. CRIMES INVOLVING MORALS AND DECENCY.
ARTICLE 4. Family Offenses; Crimes Against Children, etc.
18.2-371.3. Tattooing or body piercing of minors. --

No person shall tattoo or perform body piercing on a person less than eighteen years of age, knowing or having reason to believe such person is less than eighteen years of age except (i) in the presence of the person's parent or guardian, or (ii) when done by or under the supervision of a medical doctor, registered nurse or other medical services personnel licensed pursuant to Title 54.1 in the performance of their duties.

In addition, no person shall tattoo or perform body piercing on any client unless he complies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for "Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions" and provides the client with the following disclosure:

1. Tattooing and body piercing are invasive procedures in which the skin is penetrated by a foreign object.

2. If proper sterilization and antiseptic procedures are not followed by tattoo artists and body piercers, there is a risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens and other infections, including, but not limited to, human immunodeficiency viruses and hepatitis B or C viruses.

3. Tattooing and body piercing may cause allergic reactions in persons sensitive to dyes or the metals used in ornamentation.

4. Tattooing and body piercing may involve discomfort or pain for which appropriate anesthesia cannot be legally made available by the person performing the tattoo or body piercing unless such person holds the appropriate license from a Virginia health regulatory board.

A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation of this section shall be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section:

"Body-piercing" means the act of penetrating the skin to make a hole, mark, or scar, generally permanent in nature. "Body piercing" does not include the use of a mechanized, presterilized ear-piercing system that penetrates the outer perimeter or lobe of the ear or both.

"Tattoo" means to place any design, letter, scroll, figure, symbol or any other mark upon or under the skin of any person with ink or any other substance resulting in the permanent coloration of the skin, including permanent make-up or permanent jewelry, by the aid of needles or any other instrument designed to touch or puncture the skin.
(1997, c. 586; 2000, c. 842; 2001, c. 270.)


SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 375 Offered January 10, 2001 Prefiled January 10, 2001
Requesting the Department of Health to study the appropriate level of regulation for tattoo artists and body piercing technicians.
----------
Patron-- Edwards ----------
Referred to Committee on Rules ----------

WHEREAS, the practice of tattooing is the placement of any design, letter, scroll, figure, symbol or any other mark upon or under the skin of any person with ink or any other substance resulting in the permanent coloration of the skin by the aid of needles or any other instrument designed to touch or puncture the skin; and

WHEREAS, the practice of body piercing is the perforation of human tissue other than the ear for a nonmedical purpose; and

WHEREAS, the practice of body piercing and tattooing involves risks associated with the handling of blood and body fluid including possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens; and

WHEREAS, while certification standards, including training in proper aseptic techniques and prevention of disease transmission, have been developed by professional associations associated with tattooing and body piercing to protect professional tattoo and body piercing practitioners, there is no statewide requirement that practitioners comply with such standards; and

WHEREAS, under current state law localities may regulate the sanitary condition of the personnel, equipment and the premises of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons, there exists no statewide regulatory standard to ensure that participants use proper infection control techniques; and

WHEREAS, the risk to individual participants in the tattooing and body piercing process of disease transmission is greatly increased when a tattooist or body piercing technician fails to use proper infection control techniques including safety, hygiene and sterilization of the instruments or when the facility that the tattoist or body piercing technician performs fails to meet minimum sanitary standards; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates, That the Department of Health be requested to study the appropriate level of regulation for tattoo artists and body piercing technicians.

All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Department of Health for this study, upon request.

The Department of Health shall complete its work in time to submit its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the 2002 Session of the General Assembly as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents.

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