Hawaii's tattoo industry wants stricter standards

Laurence Lau
Laurence Lau

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - Tattoos and body piercings are a trend among all generations but the industry says outdated health regulations should reap worries for everyone.

Walking in Waikiki, you'll probably see plenty of beach bodies sporting tattoos and piercings. But tattoo and piercing shops say the health laws need to be stricter and modernized.

Maggie Keuser has an eye for who put's art on her arm.

"Sterilization of needles, making sure the guys wear gloves if they're spraying you, that's important," said Keuser.

Hawaii's tattoo industry says state tattoo laws haven't been updated for almost thirty years. Tattoos to body piercings, they're drawing the line.

"You're poking holes in people you're dealing with blood born pathogens and it's important to get responsibility with that," said tattoo artist Jason Lusk.

And that's why lawmakers, state health leaders and area tattoo artists are teaming together, revealing needed changes that address tattoos, body piercings, and the newest trend, body modification.

"It's not just a matter of regulation, there's a clear need for education," said Laurence Lau with the State Health Department. "We're very concerned that a lot of stuff is happening at homes and non-commercial places."

With different infections, HIV, and Hepatitis as possible penalties for improper precautions and procedures, Hawaii's tattoo industry says a more modern perspective on its laws will color a canvas of safety.

The group is currently drafting a bill that they hope to introduce at the next legislative session. If signed into law, it would take affect in July of 2009.