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J Environ Health. 2005 Apr;67(8):38-43, 54, 53.

Tattooing, body piercing, and permanent cosmetics: a historical and current view of state regulations, with continuing concerns.

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School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Marble Falls 78654, USA.


The popularity of tattooing, body piercing, and permanent cosmetics demands up-to-date state legislation. The objective of this article is to present a historical perspective and nationwide review of current state regulations for body art. Methods comprised Internet and telephone inquiries to state agencies. It was found that while 36 states have changed their body art legislation since 1998, the overall strength of the regulations varies widely. The author concludes that it is unrealistic, given the amount of body art performed in the United States, to prohibit body art, emphasize only business licensing, or have limited state regulations while local municipalities establish separate policies. Concerns remain about standard precautions, adequate documentation of complications, and lack of uniform regulations. Quality protection will mean taking a more comprehensive approach to effective regulations and enforcement.

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