Do you know who's tattooing you? Tattoo artists not required to have a license to ink in NYS

Posted at: 02/15/2013 5:53 PM
Updated at: 02/15/2013 6:46 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

Did you know there are no regulations when it comes to tattoos? Tattoo artists  in Rochester and across the state are not required to have a license to ink. No offense to the great and sanitary artists, but that means anyone could give you a tattoo.
We had quite a scare back in August when the New England Journal of Medicine discovered 160 people in Rochester were exposed to ink containing bacteria. When we talked to a local shop back then., we found out tattoo parlors have no regulations. Although the health department says there have not been any incidents
like that since then, other issues have surfaced.

Tattoo artist Tony Thieros knows very well about the importance of cleanliness when it comes to working with needles..

Tony Thieros, tattoo artist, said, “You're dealing with people's health and you want to have a clean tattoo that you walk out of the shop in the same health condition you walked into the shop. So you don't go out with a disease.”

Doc Yager Tattoos takes extra measures to make sure everything is sanitary, but they don't really have to do anything. The state says they don't have to. As a matter of fact, there is no state regulation for any tattoo parlor. That means tattoo artists are not required to have a license. The health department isn't required to do inspections for cleanliness or sterilization

News10NBC wanted to know how people in Rochester felt about it.

News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion said, “You have to have a license to cut hair but you don't have to have a license to tattoo here in Monroe County.

Emma Henry said, “Really? I feel like you should have, that's permanent. Hair grows back.”

Dawn Bailey said, “That's kind of scary and I have a lot of tattoos.”

News10NBC wanted know what the Monroe County Department of Health thought.

Concepcion said, “I think the main question viewers had was why? Why aren't there regulations?”

John Ricci, Monroe County Health Department, said, “I think that if you look across the country there aren't many regulations. I think that the majority of tattoo parlors function safely.

Ricci admits it does cause concern especially after the tainted ink incident last year.

Ricci said, “I think we're starting to get to a point where there is a recognition that there needs to be some regulation of tattoo parlors.”

Either way, it's still scary enough to make people think twice.

The Monroe County Health Department tells us the state is planning to make regulations as early as this fall. News10NBC did get in contact with the New York State Health Department. The only thing they could confirm is there is no regulation through out the state right now. It's still not clear when and if they plan to make changes.. We want them to know how Rochester residents feel about it and if and when there will be any changes this year. We do not plan to let up on this until we get those answers for you.