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A Pennsylvania tattoo and piercing artist, Glenn Hackman, is going to extreme lengths to push for statewide regulations of the tattoo industry. He says a lot of his business comes from correcting work for what people think are ugly tattoos done in homes or at a concert. Hackman points out at these locales there’s also no way of ensuring that it’s sanitary. There are currently no regulations in Pennsylvania.
State Representative Rosemary Brown has proposed a house bill that would put the Pennsylvania Department of Health in charge of regulating all tattoo and piercing parlors. “I was amazed. I was absolutely amazed that we do not regulate something that uses a needle and actually breaks the skin.” For the person that gets the ink there’s a lot more at stake than a bad tattoo. “Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, you have syphilis, you have HIV, you have all kinds of bacterial infections that can develop over the years,” said Representative Brown. She said it’s hard to track where many of these diseases are contracted because they can take years to develop.
The consequences can also be cosmetic. “It can be a rash, it can be very itchy, it can be bumps,” said dermatologist Doctor Natalie Bene. “Tattoos with multiple colors are very difficult to remove, you have to use multiple lasers, not just one laser. It takes multiple treatments, I would say more than 12. It’s painful, really painful” said Bene.