Some may be surprised to discover the Larimer County Health and
Environment does not inspect or monitor tattoo parlors.
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment sets
regulations for tattoo parlors, but does not monitor individual
“All facilities in the state are required to follow these
regulations. It’s up to the counties to monitor or inspect,” said
Dan Trimberger, in the CDHE consumer protection division.
Trimberger said some counties, such as Denver County, inspect
its tattoo parlors. Larimer County is among those that do not.
Ed Schemm, associate director of environmental health at LCHE,
said the county does not regulate tattoo parlors.
One of the reasons is state funding has been cut, which limits
the number of people who can inspect. So the county decided against
monitoring tattoo parlors, Schemm said.
“We do not do any routine monitoring, the parlors are required
to follow (state) regulations,” Schemm said.
The Millennium Gallery of Living Art, 213 Jefferson St.,
carefully monitors sterility in the shop.
Sandy Cochran, a Millennium employee, said every client fills
out a form detailing his/her history of hepatitis, HIV and
Among the many safety precautions taken, Millennium uses
single-use pouches, one-time use needles and spore-tests to detect
microscopic organisms. The tests then are sent to a company for
“We use disposable gloves every time we touch a client,” Cochran
Another local tattoo shop in Fort Collins, Jokers Wild Tattoo,
824 S. College Ave., utilizes various safety precautions as
Webb Rivard, the owner and manager of Joker’s Wild, has been a
tattoo artist for almost 24 years.
“We follow a code called the Set of Universal Precautions,”
Joker’s Wild uses single-use disposable gloves, single-use
needles and chemically sterilized surfaces. Barrier-films and
Sanitex wipes are used as well.
Rivard said hand pieces are re-used but cleaned ultra-sonically
after every use.
Joker’s Wild sends sterility strips to the University of Iowa,
which monitors the shop’s hygienic conditions as well.
Deb Morris, health educator at the Hartshorn Health Services,
advised students who are thinking about getting tattoos to simply
“I do think (students) could look at how instruments are cleaned
and disposed of,” Morris said.
Morris suggests looking at postings in parlors that describe the
safety precautions the shop takes.
Morris said blood-born infections can be contracted at a
“Obviously HIV would be a concern, then Hepatitis B and C,”