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Mar 22, 2012 9:15 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Risks of illegal tattoo operations

Last night News 5 reported the story of a La Junta woman who allegedly gives tattoos to minors out of her trailer park home. Today we followed up by speaking with local Health Department officials, who explained why the law says unsupervised tattoo practices are so dangerous.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment not only mandates that all tattoo facilities be registered, checked, and regulated, but also has specific building requirements that make at-home tattoo practices illegal. "It's pretty specific in the regulations-- what should be there-- and its all about making it easy for the artist to prevent bloodborne diseases," Tom Gonzales of the El Paso County Health Department says.

Approved facilities get yearly hygiene tests, checking for things like handwashing sinks, sterile tools, single-use inks and needles, and disposable gloves-- all things that wouldn't be guaranteed safe at an illegal operation out of a home-- potentially putting a client at risk for disease.

 

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