FORT WAYNE – Beginning this November, it will be a little more expensive, but it is hoped safer, to get a tattoo in Allen County.
The county commissioners Friday unanimously approved a comprehensive set of regulations for the local tattoo and body piercing industry. The rules, which take effect Nov. 1, will require facilities to obtain permits from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health for $295.
Joe Steensma, local health board president, said the proposal is a way to ensure public health while allowing legitimate practitioners of tattoos to do their work. Local industry representatives were involved in writing the ordinance as a way to prevent amateurs from buying equipment and doing tattoos or piercings in their basements.
He said the rules are likely the most comprehensive in the state, if not the region.
In addition to the permit fee, the ordinance bans any type of body modification such as branding, cutting, dermal punching, implantation, nullification, scarification, skin peeling, suspension piercing and tongue bifurcation or splitting. Some of those acts were performed fairly regularly at the Phunk-N-Ink Tattoo and Music Festival, which has been at Grand Wayne Center the past few years.
Despite concerns from the coordinator of the convention, Commissioner Therese Brown said it was appropriate to ban these acts to ensure public safety.
For example, skin peeling is a technique of body modification and scarification which consists of cutting on the human body the outline of a design and removing the center, thereby creating a scar where the skin was removed, according to the ordinance.
The ordinance also requires operators to show proof of having received the hepatitis B vaccination series; notify the health board of any change of ownership or employment; and use antiseptic mouthwashes for piercings, antibacterial ointment for tattoos and provide written guidelines for after-care.
Market fee changes
The commissioners also approved an annual fee for farmers market vendors wishing to sell potentially hazardous food products, such as eggs or meat.
Beginning Sept. 1, vendors can buy an annual permit to sell these goods for $75. Previously they were required to pay $45 for a two-day permit. The 48-hour permit is still available, but county officials hope the annual permit makes it easier for more vendors to sell such products.
Vendors selling non-food items, fruits, vegetables, baked goods or jams and jellies will not be affected.