The county of Macomb in Michigan is working on a new body of art ordinance this month. The ordinance is 24 pages in length and covers everything from artist regulations to shop rules, and the hopes is to reduce the unlicensed tattoos showing up in the state. The health department of Michigan has noticed an increase in tattoos done by non-professional tattoo artists recently and have a growing concern of the health risks involved in getting a tattoo outside of a professional tattoo shop.
There are a lot of risks that run with non-licensed artists, known as scratchers. Often these tattoos are performed at house parties, in basements, or even at flea markets. In more cases then not, the tattoos are done with non-sterilized materials that can be of poor quality. They also run the risk of needle sharing, which can bring a whole host of diseases, infections and other health concerns. Aside from the health concerns, these free range tattoos can often be of poor quality.
Which is why the Michigan Department of Health developed the new Body Art Ordinance. This ordinance will require that all tattoo shops carry both a license and a permit that will cost $100 a year. In addition, all tattoo artists must be a minimal age of 17 and accompanied by an artist over the age of 18. These artists must also be trained in basic emergency procedures, such as CPR.
The Michigan Department of Health hopes the new ordinance will make it harder for the scratchers to give underground tattoos, however, they realize the ordinance alone will not completely remove the unlicensed tattoos being given in the state. There is no word yet whether the ordinance will be partnered with increased laws related to tattoos. However, this may be the extra step needed to get the people off the streets and in to the tattoo shops.
The ordinance went to it’s first round of voting on December 4th, 2008. Putting the new ordinance in effect may be a lengthy process as it is a longer set of guidelines, and a relatively new subject for the city of Michigan.
To read more about the ordinance, see the Detroit News.