Calls for tattoo parlours to be rated
Research carried out by CIEH Wales has revealed widespread industry and public support for a tattoo parlour hygiene rating scheme similar to that used for restaurants.
It was also revealed that the public does not fully understand the hygiene risks associated with tattoos.
A survey of more than 100 people who either had or were considering getting a tattoo found that 93 per cent would only consider being tattooed if the premises had a score of four or above, on a scale of zero to five.
Respondents were also presented with a list of infections, diseases and conditions and asked whether they were associated with tattooing.
Thirteen per cent said they thought it possible to contract leptospirosis and 12 per cent said they though it possible to contract camplylobacter through having a tattoo. Neither disease can be contracted this way.
No respondents correctly identified all the risks.
None of the 20 tattoo parlour proprietors interviewed had a recognised qualification or accreditation from a professional body.
Sixteen proprietors said they thought a hygiene scheme would ‘benefit the industry’, with the same number saying the current licensing system was ‘not adequate’ and that it was too easy to set up a tattoo business.
Julie Barratt, CIEH Wales director, said: ‘As the popularity of tattoos continues to grow so does concern for the potential spread of infection. the evidence of this survey indicates strong support for a hygiene rating scheme from both customers and salon owners who see it as a potential useful tool in protecting the customer and the industry.'
Graham Jukes, CIEH chief executive, said 'CIEH has been concerned for many years about the public health dangers from tattooists and skin piercing operations. The reduction of local government resources to police such premises will require different approaches and the application of a rating scheme could provide consumers with the right information for informed choice and drive up standards.'
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said the findings were ‘interesting’ but that local authorities should look at the possibility of introducing voluntary rating schemes.
Steve Thomas, chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association, said he welcomed the call for a tattoo parlour hygiene rating scheme ‘in principle’.