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New law looks to regulate piercings for minors

Posted at: 06/11/2012 10:36 PM
Updated at: 06/11/2012 11:30 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

nullFor some parents, it's no big deal. Others have a big problem with their kids getting body piercings. But did you know, there's nothing illegal about your teenager getting a piercing without your consent?

A new state law could change all that.

A recent student in the journal "Pediatric Dentistry" says more than 3,000 people each year visit the emergency room with oral injuries related to piercings, and almost 75% of them are between the ages of 14 and 17.

Doctor Lee Pollan is an oral surgeon at Eastman Institute for Oral Health. He sees problems with oral piercings often, and says infections can spread to the brain, causing an abscess.

He says there can be other problems too. "Significant bleeding problems because of the vascularity of the area.  There is a significant number of blood vessels in the area. Nerve damage with either lost sensors function, or motor function," are among the risks, says Dr. Pollan.

News10NBC caught up with 19-year-old Melissa Ramirez at a piercing shop on Monroe Avenue. She says she can see why restrictions are a good idea.

"When you are younger you are doing it on impulse. When I was 14, I got my bellybutton pierced and that was on impulse. You have to be mature enough to make a decision that is for the rest of your life," says Melissa.

Joel Yager owns Doc Yager tattoos on East Avenue and says his shop doesn't perform oral or genital piercings on anyone under 18.

Yager says a state law, like the one sponsored by Senator Joe Robach, would make the rules the same for everyone.

"I agree, I really do. I think that right now a lot of things are completely out of hand as far as the piercings and making a determination on their life as of today. I think a young person really needs to think that out and I think 18 is a good age," says Yager.

However, he says he does see a down side. "Whenever there is restrictions though, it is going to drive it back into the basement again. Drive it to having piercing parties at home. They will have a lot of  kids do it. But I really think there has to be some sort of regulation for it."

Republican Senator Joe Robach sponsored the new law, but time is running out to get it approved. The legislative session ends June 21st.

More than 40 states already have laws in place that require parental consent for piercing minors.