House passes DeLuca bill that would create state health standards for tattoo, body piercing industry

Bill would also establish Department of Health registry

HARRISBURG, April 11 – Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the House today passed his bill, H.B. 456, which would establish state health standards and a central registry for the tattoo and body piercing industry. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support.

“Studies have shown that about 40 percent of people under age 40 have or have had a tattoo, and body piercings are on the rise among young people,” DeLuca said. “At the same time, employees who perform these procedures are not subject to state health standards or regulations, and they may be practicing in unsterile environments. Given the risk of infection these procedures pose, it’s critical that we act now to safeguard Pennsylvanians.”

DeLuca’s bill would require the state Department of Health to establish sterilization, sanitation and safety standards for any business engaged in tattoo or body piercing and would require anyone performing those procedures to pass a written examination demonstrating competency in the standards as a condition to becoming registered. The bill also would create a central registry within the department for employees who perform these procedures and for the businesses where they are performed.

The bill would prohibit tongue-splitting procedures unless performed by a state licensed physician or dentist and would prohibit ocular tattooing unless performed under the direction of a physician or other authorized health care practitioner.

“My bill will give the Department of Health the opportunity to protect citizens undergoing tattooing or piercing by ensuring that the businesses they visit use sterile equipment and meet the department’s standards,” DeLuca said. “I’m glad we’re on our way to joining 40 other states that have enacted more protective measures for these industries and for those seeking tattoos or piercings.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.