SOUTHINGTON — Town officials are considering new rules for tattoo parlors, saying health practices at such companies are largely unregulated.
No complaints have been filed against any of the five local tattoo studios in the past two years, according to Shane Lockwood, Southington-Plainville Regional Health District director. A state requirement that tattoo artists receive a certification will take effect in July. Southington and Plainville officials say they want to make sure hygienic practices are followed in the parlors.
“There’s a consensus that perhaps having certain protocols in place in regards to cleanliness might be a good thing,” said Plainville Town Manager Robert E. Lee.
“We’ve come to realize that tattoo parlors aren’t really much regulated at all,” he said. “This could become a serious health problem.”
Barbershops are already regulated for similar health reasons, Lee said. The regional health district’s board talked with Chad Lockhart of Hartford County Tattoos about whether an ordinance was needed.
“He was supportive of the notion that we should be setting some standards,” Lee said.
Lockhart couldn’t be reached on Monday.
Jay “Phoenix” Farino, owner of Phoenix Ink Tattoo on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, said all his artists are certified with the state although it’s not required.
“We’ve chosen to be; it’s safer that way,” he said.
He had little comment on further regulation of his business.
“The towns are going to do what they’re going to do,” Farino said.
He was mostly concerned about tattoo artists operating out of their houses with little oversight.
Late last year, Wallingford passed a tattoo and body piercing ordinance requiring such establishments to get a $100 permit and submit to two yearly, random inspections.
The state’s licensing will involve a $250 fee, taking a course on the prevention of blood-borne diseases and previous tattoo experience or training.
Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said the state’s law was a good start but didn’t deal with the operation of tattoo parlors.
“It really is just establishing standards for cleanliness and health safety,” he said of the town ordinance under consideration. “I’m surprised we don’t already have one.”
John Barry, a Democratic town councilor and member of the regional health board, was also in favor of the new regulation.
“It’s a safeguard I think is important to protect people who want to get tattoos,” he said. “I think you have to be proactive to prevent problems.”
Lockwood said he’s looking at the ordinances of other Connecticut towns concerning tattoo parlors to create one for Southington and Plainville. The health district may have a sample ordinance by the summer.