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Public Health Rep. 2003 Mar-Apr;118(2):154-61.

Regulation of tattooing in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota: tattooists' attitudes and relationship between regulation and practice.

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  • 1University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.



This study investigated tattooists' attitudes regarding government regulation and the relationship between existing tattooing regulation and tattooists' knowledge and practice of infection control.


Self-reported and observational data were collected in a cross-sectional study of professional tattooists. A written survey was used to investigate knowledge and practice of infection control and attitudes toward government regulation. Infection control practice was also examined through direct observation of tattooing. Rating scales were used to compare tattoo artists subject to local tattooing ordinances with those in areas without ordinances.


Sixty-one tattooists (45 regulated, 16 unregulated) completed surveys and 25 (17 regulated, 8 unregulated) were observed. Attitudes toward regulation were generally positive. Most participants supported health department inspections and training requirements. The presence of local tattooing ordinances was not associated with tattooists' knowledge (p=0.53), but was associated with self-reported practices (p=0.05). A more positive attitude toward regulation was associated with the use of more self-reported infection control procedures (p<0.01).


Tattoo artists in areas with local tattooing ordinances may implement more bloodborne pathogen precautions than those in areas without ordinances, despite working from a similar knowledge base. Tattooists most in need of improvement may be difficult to reach due to opposition to government intrusion. Federal guidelines, clarification of OSHA rules applying to tattooists, and statewide regulation are needed. Tattooists should be involved in the development of regulations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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