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Health experts call for ‘hygiene rating’ scheme for tattoo parlours
Consumers feel a ‘hygiene rating’ scheme for tattoo parlours could improve hygiene standards and reduce the risk of acquiring blood borne infections, according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. The survey will be presented at its annual public health conference in Cardiff on 2/3 May.
At present a customer wishing to ‘buy’ a tattoo has no available information on the hygiene standards in a tattoo parlour.
While tattooists need to be registered with their local council, potential purchasers have no way of being able to judge for themselves the hygiene standards of the premises in which the procedure is to be carried out, although most of those questioned indicated that the standard of hygiene in the premises would be one of the most important factors influencing their choice of salon.
The research also revealed confusion about the health risks posed by tattooing, which
carries the risk of infection froam life threatening diseases such as HIV and hepatitis as well as unpleasant skin complications such as scarring and granulomas (knots /lumps that form around the site of the tattoo).
Key findings of the research:
· 93%of respondents said that they would only consider having a tattoo in a tattoo parlour if it had attained an ‘excellent’ hygiene rating
· Public are largely unaware of the health risks associated with tattooing
· 80% of respondents said that the present licensing scheme is not ‘adequate’ and it is too easy to set up a tattoo parlour from home or a studio
· 80% of tattoo parlour owners questioned thought that a hygiene rating scheme would benefit the industry by improving standards and driving out poor practice
Commenting, Julie Barratt, Director of CIEH, who commissioned the research, said:
“We have no problem with people choosing to have tattoos - but as the popularity of tattoos continues to grow so does concern for the potential spread of infection.
“Many of the respondents indicated that a Hygiene Rating Scheme would be of assistance to them when they were making a decision about where to have a tattoo, and the great majority considered that on a scale of 0 – 5 they would not choose a premises exhibiting less than 4.”
Encouragingly, 80% of the tattoo salon owners were also in favour of such a scheme, as they see it as a way of driving up standards. They also wished to see the scheme being mandatory, to ensure that no premises could opt out of displaying their hygiene rating.
“Given the strong support for a Hygiene Rating Scheme from both customers and salon owners, both who see it as a useful tool in protecting the customer and the industry; we will be pressing for its adoption,” said Julie Barratt.
3rd May 2012