Feb 052004
 
Authors: Natalie Plowman

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

counties.

“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

AIDS.

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

monitoring.

“We use disposable gloves every time we touch a client,” Cochran

said.

Another local tattoo shop in Fort Collins, Jokers Wild Tattoo,

824 S. College Ave., utilizes various safety precautions as

well.

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,”

Rivard said.

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

ask questions.

“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

parlor.

“Obviously HIV would be a concern, then Hepatitis B and C,”

Morris said.

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